Maurizio Sarri’s smoking habits have made almost as many headlines thus far than his footballing habits, so the Chelsea head coach may considering quitting the habit just so that he can fully concentrate on answering football questions in his dealings with the media.
“No I needed half-time and the first half to end [against Arsenal], not a cigarette. I am going to stop for just one or two years then I will start again.”
Sarri said all that with one of his usual smirks, so there’s a good chance he’s just joking about giving up the cigarettes during his Chelsea employment — as a man who knows his football history, he may or may not be joking about that lasting no more than 1-2 years.
Maurizio Sarri specifices that his team isn't running enough to make their pressing game defensively solid enough. He also wryly says he may give up smoking, amid repeated questions about it: https://t.co/45U6jlyuIh #CFC— Nizaar Kinsella (@NizaarKinsella) August 19, 2018
But what’s clearly not a joking matter is Chelsea’s football. That’s coming along slowly — ETA: 2 months — and as those 15 minutes in the first-half against Arsenal showed, there are plenty of improvements that need to be done in the meantime.
“In terms of quality not too much [more is needed], because in the first 25 minutes we did really very well. We moved the ball very quickly, fast, we played vertical balls and we did really very well. So in terms of quality, we are going very well.
“In quantity [of running], we have to improve. We have to improve which I think is normal. We started to work all together just two weeks ago, so my target now is to play 90 minutes like we played our first 25. I think in this way of football, if you don’t cover the distances, you are in trouble. I am talking about in my way of football specifically.”
-Maurizio Sarri; source: Goal
With Sarri’s system built around closing down and pressing, Chelsea simply cannot afford to take their foot off the gas, especially against quality opponents.
Fortunately that half-time break did come at the right time, if not for Sarri’s smoking habits, then to give Chelsea a chance to regroup, refocus, and reemphasize the things we need to do in Sarri-ball to ensure victory.
A certain kind of game of two halves in Arsenal - Chelsea.— Caley Graphics (@Caley_graphics) August 18, 2018
Wide open first half favored Arsenal as they torched Chelsea down the flanks and got free for cutbacks at will. Second half Emery dialed it way back and Chelsea controlled the game, did enough to win. pic.twitter.com/Mpb54rpsK1