Cesc Fabregas is anticipating a change in the team’s formation for today’s opening game of pre-season in Perth, and he is backing the players to make the necessary adaptations quickly.
The match in Australia, which kicks off at 7.30pm local time and 12.30pm UK time, is the first under Maurizio Sarri’s management and that means change, as our experienced midfielder discussed ahead of the game.
‘He [Sarri] is bringing a different style, a different formation and we just need to grow into it,’ said Fabregas.
‘We need to learn. We have been two years with Antonio working in a system with 5-4-1, 3-5-2, depending on the game. It is very different to play with five or three at the back than it is to play with four. We need time to re-adapt to a back four and to what the boss wants from us but I believe we are intelligent players and players at the top level who will try to adapt as soon as possible.
‘We have not all the players involved, many of the players are still on holiday or at Cobham because they played the World Cup,’ he added. ‘The players who are here, together with the youngsters, they do a good job trying to get it as fast as we can and hopefully this is a good day to start seeing a few things from what the manager wants from us. Hopefully it will be a good game for us to get things going.’
The 31-year-old also emphasised the importance of this time of the year.
‘It is probably the hardest part of the season in terms of work and preparation. I think it is the petrol you put into your body to last the whole season. In football every year the pressure is higher and higher, the teams are more competitive, everyone has more money to spend so they buy better players so every single game you know is difficult to win. That is why pre-season is probably the most important part to be ready.’