After perfect start, Sarri talks about Chelsea’s title hopes
So far, Sarri ball is perfect at Chelsea.
Maurizio Sarri will be a happy man on Saturday evening in west London after a fourth-straight victory to start the season, but will he be a happy man at the end of the 2018-19 Premier League season?
[ RECAP: Chelsea edge by Bournemouth ]
The new Chelsea manager has had a perfect start to his career at Stamford Bridge and although the Blues struggled at times to break down Bournemouth in their 2-0 win, their quality showed in the latter stages.
Speaking to the BBC after the game, Sarri revealed he is happy with his players but still believes they can improve.
“I’m really very happy with my players. For us now it’s not important to think of matchday four, it’s important to think of the next match,” Sarri said. “They were very organized and they defended very well but usually in this match you have to be patient because you can win in the last 20 minutes. At the moment we are doing very well but we can improve. For example, in the first half we needed to move the ball at a faster speed.”
What about Chelsea’s title hopes this season?
With the Blues on 12 points from 12, it’s a perfect start and Sarri is certainly happy to have the talented squad at his disposal. But can they seriously challenge Man City, Liverpool and others for the title?
“We won the first three matches so now we are more confident. At the moment I am lucky because I can choose Willian or Pedro, or Giroud, Loftus-Cheek or Morata,” Sarri said. “I am here – the club wanted to see me here. We are at the beginning of the season, and the gap between us and Man City was 30 points last season – it’s difficult to close that gap in one season.”
Based on what we’ve seen so far, Sarri’s boys will no doubt close that gap to Man City this season.
Their high-pressing style gradually grinds their opponents down and Bournemouth did have chances on the break and from set pieces, but Marcos Alonso, Jorginho, Eden Hazard and Pedro had the quality to be patient and pick their moments.
Hazard, in particular, was superb and after a summer of rumors linking him with a move to Real Madrid, the Belgian star is eager to carry Chelsea’s title bid this season.
“I’m feeling confident, I’m enjoying my football, we have a new manager and lots of good players,” Hazard said. “I know when I play good the team play good, so I need to be ready for everything. The season is long, but we will fight to the end, and we will keep improving.”
If Chelsea do keep improving then they will push Man City and Liverpool all the way for the title.
The next big challenge for the Blues is the UEFA Europa League as Sarri will get to rotate his squad and give plenty of youngsters a chance to develop.
For now, wins against Huddersfield, Arsenal, Newcastle and Bournemouth have given him a great start to life in England.