After playing two cup games, winning one and losing one, Chelsea are back in action in the Premier League against none other than Newcastle. As it always is in silly season, there were plenty of transfer rumours for Maurizio Sarri to talk about in his pre-match press conference.
Before we get to all that, let’s focus on team news. As previously known, Ruben Loftus-Cheek is still out injured, however, Sarri did not provide any update on Morata’s fitness. The striker did train with the team but his match fitness cannot be guaranteed.
“Of course Loftus is out at the moment. Yesterday Alvaro had training with the team-mates so we have to see the last training today, i hope he will be able to play.”
Morata being injured, no matter how sulky or grumpy or wasteful he is when playing, helps no one as Chelsea have struggled to score in recent times due to continuous injuries to our forward line. Willian, Giroud, Pedro and Hudson-Odoi have all recently been injured at one point or another and this has adversely affected our attack.
In the last four Premier League, Chelsea have scored only three goals, winning two, drawing one and losing one game. Considering how Sarri was supposed to bring beautiful, free flowing football and the fact that two of our last four opponents were in the bottom half of the table, the lack of goals is quite concerning. This is a problem that needs to be solved and solved before our next game or we could end up with another upset on our hands.
“We need to score, of course. We need to solve this problem. In the last match we played very well, with continuity. With a great performance from the physical point of view, but we didn’t score. Now we have this problem. We need to solve this problem.
“The match will be very difficult. They are doing better away. It is a difficult opponent away, I think the match will be the same. I hope of course to score in the first 30 minutes, but if the match will be the same then we have to be patient.
“We have played very well in the offensive phase but we need to improve in the box, attacking the space.”
Of course, as mentioned before, there have been lot of transfer rumours surrounding Chelsea in the past few weeks. As expected, Sarri was asked about each and every single one of them because how else are journalists supposed to make £3000 per article.
First up, striker rumours, Sarri answered about both, Higuain’s transfer into the club and Morata’s departure. With respect to Higuain, Sarri gave a non-answer stating that we need two players but then it is up to the club.
“As you know very well I am not in control of the transfer market. In my opinion we need two players, but then it is up to the club.”
With regards to Morata, Sarri said that he should just his put head down and work hard. It’s quite telling that Sarri neither ruled out Higuain’s transfer or Morata’s departure. There was nothing concrete in his answer and as such, it may be safe to assume that there is definitely something going on behind the scenes.
Of course if he was to go to another club then we need a replacement. But at the moment he is here, he has to think only to play. There are 300 players involved in the market and they need to think only to the next match otherwise it is impossible to play.
One topic on which Sarri gave a concrete and authoritative answer was his distaste towards Bayern’s recent, shameful tapping up of Callum Hudson-Odoi. This is what the gaffer had to say about the German giants and their pathetic ways.
“I think it is not professional. They are talking about a player under contract with Chelsea, so they didn’t respect our club I think. I am very happy with the player, he is improving a lot. He needs to move in some moments without the ball. I would like to have him in the future.”
We have seen an upturn in Hudson-Odoi’s minutes in recent times. Whether it’s because of the threat from Bayern or because the youngster has finally acclimatized to Sarri’s methods is unknown.
Against Spurs three days ago, both Odoi and Christensen started and as such neither will start tomorrow due to fatigue but the recent improvements in their playing time must definitely make both these players happy.
“I don’t know, he played very well also in the previous match. He has improved in defending by looking at the ball. Now he is ready to play, I think we have a very good option for David, for Rudiger, he is ready to play. I don’t know tomorrow. The same for Callum, he was a little tired tomorrow as he played two matches in three days. I want to see today the level.”
-Maurizio Sarri; Source: Football.London
That’s all of note from Sarri’s pre-match press conference. Apart from all this, Sarri also stated that Willian’s exit from Chelsea during January is “impossible” so, no matter how many times Barcelona bid, we’re not selling him this transfer window.
This is Chelsea’s last fixture of the busy winter period, after this, the Blues get a whole week off to recuperate. Let’s make sure we win this one, eh?