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Jorginho reflects on his relationship with Sarri, training ground prankster, tactical mastermind

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Dad-jokes must abound

Chelsea FC v Cardiff City - Premier League Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Jorginho was all set to join Manchester City this summer before a late bid from Chelsea arrived and gazumped the defending Premier League champions. While Chelsea’s offer was undoubtedly a big factor, the fact that Maurizio Sarri was also joining Chelsea from Napoli played a key role as well.

Jorginho confirmed as much in his recent interview with ESPN Brasil, revealing that while he didn’t specifically speak to Sarri about the joint move, the understanding was there that it would happen.

“There is a lot of stuff behind a transfer deal. And I believe [Sarri’s switch to Chelsea] also influenced a lot. And the Chelsea brand, and club, are very big. So I believe all these factors weighed in the decision.

“Honestly he did not speak with me face to face, because that is not really his thing. But through intermediaries, we knew his will and the work he would do here.”

-Jorginho; source: ESPN Brasil

Jorginho has spent the last three seasons working with and learning from Sarri, which makes him uniquely placed among all Chelsea players as someone already fully versed in the head coach’s methods and strategies.

Who better to reflect then on the progress shown by the Blues, culminating in this week’s unbeaten pair of matches against Liverpool in both the League Cup (a win) and the Premier League (a draw)?

“[Sarri is] very offensive-minded. I believe the tactical side is fundamental and he works a lot on this aspect. And you see that in every result — how Napoli played in the last few years, how Chelsea have been playing. It is a beautiful type of football to watch, and very nice to play because you always have plays available. So I believe the players have a lot of fun playing under him.”

-Jorginho; source: ESPN Brasil

Much of the implementation of Sarri’s system has to do with Jorginho himself, sitting in the middle of the formation, the center of midfield, and acting as the metronome for Chelsea’s passing and attacking patterns.

It’s a relationship that extends off the pitch as well, at least so far as Sarri lets any relationship extend beyond the boundaries of the pitch or the training ground.

“I have a really good relationship with him, though he does not particularly care too much about that.”

Sarri emphasises that he wants his players to have fun on the pitch. He apparently even leads by example, as the silly training ground prank he played on Jorginho this week shows.

“[Last Wednesday], after the game there was a training session for those who did not play. So the coaches came by and said ‘training has been cancelled’.”

“I headed straight to the dressing room, I was there taking a bath. So he arrived and asked ‘what are you doing here?’. I answered ‘the guys said there would not be training’. And then he said ‘who is the boss here? I am! So go train’. And I was like ‘oh man, you must be kidding me!’. It is this kind of trick that he is always pulling.”

Ah, dad-pranks.

So despite the demanding training and tactical sessions, it is this easy-going nature that allows Sarri to create and maintain a good atmosphere in the dressing room. It’s a world that even in these modern times of increased access we do not have much insight into, so we’ll just have to take Jorginho at his word that it’s all working wonderfully.

“Yes, it is very important to keep a good working environment. No wonder that off the pitch he is a very calm guy, with regards to everything.”

“Which is why he knows the value of hard work and acknowledges the effort shown by the players. He really enjoys working on the training ground and he of course intends to do plenty of that. The results come thanks to all that work.”

-Jorginho; source: ESPN Brasil

Work hard, have fun. That is the way of Sarri.