Maurizio Sarri praised the spirit of his team after watching the Blues score late on to win 2-1 at Newcastle, ensuring we have now taken maximum points from our opening three matches.
Joselu looked to have stolen a point for the hosts when he cancelled out Eden Hazard’s penalty seven minutes from time, but we refused to settle for a draw and scored the winner in the 87th minute as Marcos Alonso’s volley was turned into his own net by DeAndre Yedlin.
Sarri was pleased we were able to find the character to secure the victory at a ground we have struggled at in recent years.
‘We knew it’s a difficult game here, especially for us but for every team,’ said the Italian.
‘Last season Chelsea, Man United and Arsenal all lost here so I don’t think it’s easy to play here against this opponent.
‘In Italy I’ve never seen Rafa play with five defenders, so low and compact. It was difficult but we needed to move the ball faster and be patient.
‘To be drawing five minutes from the end, it was even more difficult. From the character point of view this is a strong team.’
Sarri was asked if he felt Olivier Giroud was fouled in the build-up to Newcastle’s goal
‘I only thought it was the first time they had been in our box, it was a bit unlucky I think. I don’t know if there was a foul, I was far away.’
He was also asked about the decision to award us a penalty after Alonso was brought down
‘It’s the same, I’m so far away, the bench is on the halfway line so it’s very difficult for me to say if it was a penalty, I’m about 60 or 65 metres away. I’m not a ref and I don’t ever want to be one.’
Hazard, making his first start of the season, was a threat throughout
‘I think he played very well, maybe it’s better for him at this moment to only play 70 or 75 minutes but after the first goal Kovacic asked to be substituted, so for me it was impossible to let him rest.’
He was asked what he thinks about our position in the Premier League table (joint-top)
‘Nothing because it’s about 38 matches. It’s important to start very well but now the table is not important.’