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Sarri: Changing the mentality

Maurizio Sarri says implementing a new footballing philosophy takes time, but he hopes to see a better reaction from his team in tough moments.

The Italian conducted his pre-match press conference at Cobham this afternoon and among the subjects discussed were our performances in the last couple of matches, overcoming difficulties and N’Golo Kante’s position.

Sarri was first asked about player availability for tomorrow’s game

‘At the moment we have no serious injuries, I think every player will be able to play but of course I have to see the last training session,’ said Sarri.

The Italian's long-term aim is for the Blues to become the best team in Europe

Sarri wants a better reaction from the team as a whole in tough moments

‘I think we have a problem to manage the match at the moment. In the last two matches we played well for 55 or 60 minutes, but in the first difficulty we had a blackout. Against Fulham we were lucky they didn’t score, at Wolves we were a bit unlucky because from five shots they had two on target and scored two, but weren’t able to react.

‘It’s not easy to answer. I saw in the last matches when there is the first difficulty we had a blackout and didn’t react as a team, as 11 players, but in 11 different ways so it’s a big problem.’

The Blues boss was asked about his decision to play Kante in a more advanced position

‘The problems are only the results. When we won the position of N’Golo was good. At this moment we are not winning so it’s normal (for people to think) players are playing badly or in the wrong position. I explained why Kante usually plays in that position. I have my opinion, I can understand if someone doesn’t agree but I’ve explained why.’

Sarri also responded to a question regarding the recent form of Marcos Alonso, and whether or not Emerson Palmieri could be given more minutes

‘In the last period Alonso didn’t play a lot. He wasn’t in the national team during the last international break. The minutes aren’t very high for him, he played in all 14 league matches but not in the Europa League or Carabao Cup. In the national team he played only one match.

‘He didn’t play well against Fulham, he played better in the first half at Wolves and had a difficult second half. I need to understand
because for me he’s not tired. I have to see the last training session.

‘Of course, Emerson is a good option. I have to consider some details. For example, without Alonso we could have problems at set-pieces
so I have to consider everything.’

The fact we are currently experiencing some difficulties hasn't surprised Sarri

Sarri explained why implementing a new way of playing takes time, citing tomorrow’s opponents and Liverpool as examples

‘When you change the way of playing, the way of football, you need to change the mentality. You need to change the mentality in 25 minds so it’s very difficult, as we saw with Liverpool and Manchester City, but after the solution of the difficulties you can create something important.

‘You cannot change the mentality in one day, you can change it day by day, maybe only one per cent a week, it’s a long story.’