Maurizio Sarri’s Napoli side earned plaudits worldwide for their style of play, and our new boss is now hoping his footballing philosophy can bring enjoyment to Chelsea players and fans alike.
In his first press conference at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday afternoon, Sarri often used the word fun. He does not want it to come at the cost of success, of course, but he believes one can lead to the other.
‘Ours is not a sport, but a game,’ he said.
‘Anybody who plays a game started doing that when they were a child, to have fun. The child in each of us must be nurtured because this often is what makes us the best. Trying to create play that is fun is the first thing to obtain everything else from.
‘My goal is to have fun as long as I’m here, and to be competitive in all competitions until the end. My personal objective is to have fun, because I think that in life, the biggest gift you may receive is to have fun while you do your job.
‘I am convinced that if the team has fun, often the fans have fun, too. This is very important. And then there is obviously the material objective. We must start by having fun, which is important for us and our fans. I really hope the Chelsea fans will see entertaining football.’
Sarri also acknowledged that to achieve the best results with the players at his disposal he must be versatile in his way of thinking.
‘I do not want to change anything in the club’s philosophy. In the past years, this has been one of the best clubs in England.
‘I want to bring my philosophy on the pitch, but at the end of the transfer window, it will be up to me to establish understand what kind of game is most suitable for the final squad.
‘I can't come here and change 20 players. I must adapt to Chelsea and the available players, and then we will see whether I need to change something in my game because of the squad’s characteristics.’
Sarri inherits a group of players who won the FA Cup in May and the Premier League title a year before that. Analysing the work done by his compatriot and predecessor Antonio Conte, our new Italian head coach said some aspects would naturally be different, but some would stay the same.
‘I don't want to be influenced by anyone. Antonio Conte has reached incredible results here and elsewhere. Clearly, I play in a slightly different way so it will take time for the squad.
‘This is a post-World Cup time so players still need to come back and need to build a different way of playing. All good things that Antonio Conte did must be left, they should not be changed.
‘It's also true that in today's football, these are the timelines, so it's also important to know how to impose one's own football philosophy shorter than the past.’