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Sarri expects tougher game than West Ham’s league position would indicate

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And that’s before any Europa League hangovers

Newcastle United v Chelsea FC - Premier League Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

So far this season in the Premier League, Chelsea have won five of five; West Ham have lost four of five. For Maurizio Sarri, neither of those sets of results are realistic.

“I am surprised because in Naples the beginning was very difficult, the first month. Here at the moment I am very happy with the situation, with the players, with the club. But I know the Premier League is a very competitive competition so I know in the future I will have to face some difficulties.

“I have seen the five matches of West Ham in the Premier League, and I think they have been unlucky. They changed in the last match against Everton from 4-2-3-1 to 4-1-4-1 and they played very well. Their position in the table is not a realistic one.”

-Maurizio Sarri; source: Chelsea FC

Sarri has repeatedly tempered expectations since his arrival, and Chelsea certainly have room to improve in implementing and executing the principles of Sarrismo. That results have completely gone our way is not something anyone will complain about, but it’s important to look beyond just the surface.

And that same goes for West Ham of course, who are surely a better team than a 3-points-from-15 relegation bound outfit. The Hammers won last weekend, and they haven’t had a midweek trip to Greece to contend with either. And they will be up for Chelsea’s visit as always.

Sarri, like many of his predecessors, isn’t exactly a huge fan of the Premier League’s scheduling rules nor English top flight football’s insistence on packing the schedule with two cup competitions and bowing to the whims of the TV companies above all — of course it’s those TV companies that enable the Premier League’s world class status, but we digress.

“In Italy if you are playing in the Champions League you can ask to play the match before on a Friday or Saturday. If you play in the Europa League away, not at home, you can ask to play on the Monday night. I think this is right.”

“If you want to be competitive in Europe, I think this is right. In England we cannot ask this so we have to play after 64 hours. It’s not so easy.”

Chelsea’s midweek trip was complicated by a weather delay on the return flight as well. It could be worth the pain later however, if Chelsea are able to qualify for the knockout rounds with a match or two to spare, and be able to rotate the whole squad for the final group stage match or two.

“For an English team, it is very difficult to play in the Europa League with the Premier League rules. In this moment, maybe it is not a great problem because we have played only six matches. Maybe in two, three or four months it will be a problem.”

“First of all, I hope to be in the Europa League in three or four months. Maybe I have to rest many players on Thursdays. At the moment, I hope to qualify before the last match of this group, but maybe in the future the players need to rest five, six, seven at a time.”

-Maurizio Sarri; Source: Daily Mail

Sarri’s squad rotation policies were called into question at Napoli; he will have to manage it better at Chelsea.

But if nothing else, Sarri can bond with Mourinho over a glass of w(h)ine and these scheduling concers. Common ground!