At St Mary’s today, Maurizio Sarri saw his team playing the style of football he wants, capped off by a mesmerising third goal.
There were 31 passes in the build-up to Alvaro Morata’s stoppage-time strike which put the gloss on a fine 3-0 away win for the Blues. Eden Hazard and Ross Barkley had earlier netted and even though the Saints missed a couple of good chances of their own, it was put to Sarri afterwards that his footballing philosophy is bearing fruit…
‘Something like this,’ Sarri responded.
‘We moved the ball very quick: one touch, maximum two touches, and we arrived on goal so easily. I think this is my football.’
He was asked if Morata’s goal was his favourite so far this season
‘Sure, of course, because I can see my way of football in this situation.’
Sarri still cited room for collective improvement
‘We need to be able to be in control of the match. We can do better in the defensive phase, and sometimes also in the offensive phase.
‘We did two or three counter-attacks wrong, four against three, or three against two, so we could do better.’
Sarri acknowledged the travelling Blues who didn’t stop singing throughout
‘I am really very happy for our fans because our support today was excellent.’
The boss was also delighted for Morata who scored for the second time in four days
‘I am very happy for him. It’s always important for a striker to score.
‘Also it’s very important the performance. Alvaro played very well in the Europa League and today in the last 30 minutes. I think he can restart easier now.’
Barkley recorded a goal and an assist but Sarri doesn’t think it was his best showing this season.
‘That was in the Carabao Cup at Liverpool. Today Ross played very well. I am really happy with him, because from the beginning he has improved day by day, week by week.
'I am very happy with him, and for him: for the goal, for the national team [call-up]. He had a very serious injury in the last two seasons but now he is improving and the best will come.
‘I said to him from the first day that he has great physical quality, great technical quality, but he had to improve from the tactical point of view. Now he has improved.
‘I think potentially he is a great player. He has quality, very important qualities. He will become a very important player in England and for the England national team.’
Sarri explained why Ruben Loftus-Cheek wasn’t in today’s squad
‘He’s not injured. I preferred for him after 70 minutes in the last match for the first time this season to have training.’