After a two week hiatus, the Premier League is back, and back with it are pre-match press conferences.
Speaking in his press conference ahead of the game against Cardiff, Chelsea manager and nicotine enthusiast, Maurizio Sarri spoke about squad fitness, John Terry's future coaching career and our next opponent, amongst other things.
First things first, Sarri talked about the fitness level of the squad and the good news is that Fabregas is back. However, if we take one player away from the injury god, Wilsherus, another is bound to perish and that player is Ruben Loftus-Cheek who suffered a foot injury while playing for England during the international break. One midfielder in, one midfielder out. Perfectly balanced, as all things should be.
"The best news is Fabregas. He is now very well and training with the team. Now he only has to improve his physical condition. In a few days, a week he will be ready to play.
“Yesterday there were some problems with fever for Emerson and Zappacosta and a little problem for Loftus-Cheek. I don’t know today the situation because I have to speak to the doctor. I don’t know if he can play.
“I think at the moment Fabregas can be available for the bench. But I want to speak to him, because maybe it is better two days of training."
Speaking of international break, Sarri offered his thoughts on everyone's least favourite break, stating that FIFA needs to make changes to the present system as it creates too many disruptions during the seasons and makes coaches' life difficult.
"It is very difficult for me, for every coach. I think that FIFA has to change something for the national teams. With four or five international breaks it is very difficult for us. Maybe the best thing to do is to put the matches in the national teams at the end of the season."
One ex-player and club legend, who may be very well be on his way to this difficult coaching life, just like Frank Lampard, is 37-year-old John Terry. Terry rejected Spartak Moscow's generous offer and if he doesn't get an offer of similar stature, he may very well have to start his coaching career sooner rather than later.
Sarri had this to say on the matter:
"The last time I spoke with him he told me he wants to play for another season. I don’t know now the situation, but Chelsea is his home, of course.
"Of course (I am open to the idea). Of course he would be a point of reference for me and everyone here. I don’t know (if there is a chance). He told me other things, he told me he wants to play. I have to speak to him."
If Terry is to start coaching, the best place to start would be here, at his home. Not to mention the fact that ever since John left, his leadership and presence around the club has been missed the most, and this would fix that.
Speaking of leadership, Sarri was supposed to settle on a captain for the rest of the season and he was supposed to do that after the break.
Apparently, Sarri has decided but he'd like to speak with the players first before he lets the media in on it. So, it seems, we may have to wait a few more days before we get the answer to this conundrum.
"I have my idea, I have decided. But I would like to before I tell you to speak to the players, and face to face with the club. At the moment it is Azpilicueta and I will tell you the final one after I spoke to the players and the club."
Moving on, Sarri was asked about the brilliant Ethan Ampadu, his debut for Wales and what he must do to get minutes in this Chelsea team. To which Sarri answered that he is very happy for Ethan but he has a large squad and he must give minutes to everyone but he hopes that in the future, he is able to give minutes to the likes of Hudson-Odoi, Loftus-Cheek and aforementioned Ampadu.
"I am very, very happy for him. For me at the moment it is not easy to give space to everyone, I have 28 players. I hope in the future I will be able to give a space to him, Odoi and Loftus. They are very young and the future of the club.
"In this first period for me it was very important not to change the defensive line. I hope in the future to have space for everyone. In the first period it is very difficult to change."
Ethan Ampadu's game by numbers vs. the Republic of Ireland:— Squawka Football (@Squawka) September 6, 2018
3 tackles won
2 aerial duels won
Mature beyond his years. pic.twitter.com/Isu27Ybkr8
One such game, where Ampadu is not expected to start, however, is our next game against Cardiff. So far the Blues have been flawless before the international break, winning four out of four. Since, this is first game back after the break, it's expected that we will mostly likely see an unchanged line-up from the game against Bournemouth, except maybe the inclusion of Pedro.
Sarri had this to say on our upcoming opponents and the threat that they pose:
"I think tomorrow will be a very difficult game. Mentally after the break it is difficult. We play against a very physical team, if we want to gain points we need a very good performance tomorrow. It is very difficult for everyone to play.
"It is very difficult materially, it is important to win every ball, to play and have good positions and distributions."
Of course, no Sarri press conference could be complete without a question about his smoking addiction and he was asked whether he has quit smoking yet by the ever so concerned and well intentioned journalists. To which Sarri, unsurprisingly, replied that he is no closer to quitting smoking than he was 20 years ago.
"At the moment no, my father has told me for the last 20 years. Unfortunately for the moment I am not able to stop."
-Maurizio Sarri; source: football.london
That's all of note from the press conference. Sarri was also asked about one aspect of our play which needs the most improvement and as usual, Sarri focused on our defensive frailty, as he has done many a times before.
Here’s hoping Chelsea are able carry on the momentum, or the luck, that we had before the international break and continuing our winning streak.