Big but efficient spending and a coherent long-term strategy has seen Liverpool and Manchester City create a gulf in the Premier League between themselves and the rest of the top-six teams. Such is their advantage over the rest that the runners-up are likely to finish with the most points without winning the title in Premier League history.
Maurizio Sarri can certainly relate to this situation as Napoli finished with 91 points in second place behind Juventus last season, which in any other year would’ve delivered the Serie A title. It took Sarri three seasons to achieve that finish, to close a similar gap from the Partenopei to dominant Juventus, and he he believes he can take Chelsea on a similar journey.
“I am sure that, in two seasons, we will be able to be close to them. But I am not sure that, in two seasons, we will be able to be better.
“When I arrived in Naples, Napoli were, in the season before, 24 points from Juventus. In the first season we arrived to nine points from Juventus, second season to six points, third season to four points. It was impossible for us to cover completely the gap.”
Sarri will have to do better than just repeating that progression. Trophies are an expectation at Stamford Bridge, just as much as constant drama and a revolving managerial door are.
The head coach undoubtedly knows this as he himself continues to search for his first ever major trophy, and he’s hoping that a full offseason will set the team up for better success starting next season.
“We had only two or three weeks for working. And then, at the end of August, we play every three days. In Naples I was able to have about 60 trainings only for the defensive line. Here I had about 11 or 12 on the defensive line, so there is a big difference.”
While recent changes in the lineup and certain tactical adjustments have seen results get better, there’s still a lot of work to do especially in the offensive phase, which right now depends in major part on Hazard’s individual brilliance.
“At the moment we are not able, in the offensive phase, to play with the right speed. We need to learn to move the ball at another speed.”
One thing’s for sure, Sarri wants to see his project through.
“I want to remain in Chelsea because the level is very high. The atmosphere in the stadiums is fantastic. It’s a wonderful championship.”
— Maurizio Sarri; source: The Telegraph
A win at Old Trafford today would go a long way in entrusting Sarri with the keys of Chelsea’s long term future.