Conference Call: Proud to coach this team

Maurizio Sarri praised Alvaro Morata after watching the Spaniard score twice in our 3-1 win over Crystal Palace this afternoon.

The Blues moved up to second in the Premier League table following a deserved victory against Roy Hodgson’s side, and the result means Sarri becomes only the second manager, along with Nottingham Forest’s Frank Clark in 1994, to go through his first 11 Premier League matches unbeaten.

Morata has now scored five goals in six matches, and Sarri believes there is even more to come from the striker.

‘I think so,’ said the Italian. ‘Alvaro has improved in the last month in confidence and personality. He has also improved from the technical point of view, now he’s able to play more with the team. He has great physical and technical potential and I think he can improve more.

‘Physically not perhaps,’ he added, when asked if there were similarities between Morata and Didier Drogba. ‘Drogba was one of the best in the world for 15 years but Alvaro is very fast, not in the first two or three steps, but if he has to run for 40 metres. He’s strong but not like Drogba, Drogba was too much.

‘For Alvaro, goals have to be a consequence, he has to play for the team and his team-mates without thinking about goals. That is a consequence of the team and the individual performance. He’s a little bit fragile from the mental point of view but he’s very young and he can improve very fast.’

Eden Hazard returned from injury and came off the bench in the second half, immediately setting up Morata to make it 2-1

‘Today was very important to have him on the bench,’ said Sarri. ‘I spoke with the doctor and he said Hazard was doing better but wasn’t able to play for 90 minutes. He said I could try for the bench but no more than 30 minutes. We were lucky because in the first minute he was able to change our match. Hazard is Hazard, he’s able to do it very often.’

Sarri was asked about the personal achievement of going through his first 11 league matches unbeaten

‘I’m really very proud but I’m proud to be coach of this team. The record is not the record of the coach but the team. I was lucky because I have very good players and in the last two months they were able to win without a great level of organisation from the tactical point of view.’

The Blues are currently two points behind leaders Manchester City, and Sarri responded to a question about whether he felt his team could keep pace with Pep Guardiola’s

‘I don’t know. At the beginning we knew there was a gap of 30 points from last season. At the moment we need only to think about trying to recover a large part of the gap. I hope to recover almost all of it but I don’t know. It’s difficult to recover 30 points but we are trying.’