Sarri: Familiar face

Maurizio Sarri discussed Marcos Alonso, Jorginho, N’Golo Kante and a couple of younger members of his squad at today’s press conference at Cobham, and he also spoke of his close relationship with Eddie Howe, the manager he will be coming up against at Stamford Bridge this weekend.

It’s Howe’s Bournemouth for the Blues tomorrow afternoon and like last week, the only player missing for us will be Cesc Fabregas, who remains out injured. Team news is where Sarri started his media conference…

‘Cesc is still out,’ he said.

‘He is working in water. We hope that next week he will be able to work on the pitch. I am sure the injury is not serious, but he has pain in the knee. The pain is still there so for him it is impossible to run on the pitch, only in water.’

Sarri said he had no reaction to his Premier League Manager of the Month nomination, with the decision on the winner yet to be made, but he did speak about Marcos Alonso, who is up for the monthly player prize

‘Alonso played very well for three matches. He is a very good player who can improve in the defensive phase. He has physical qualities at the top level, so I think he can do more in the defensive phase, but I’m not worried. He is a very good player and I think he can do more.’

Sarri was asked if anyone might leave before the loan transfer window closes tonight

‘Maybe Tammy. It’s up to him. I am not able to guarantee to him a spot at the moment, but if he wants to remain I am very happy with him. He is very young for a striker, and he can improve more. It’s up to him.’

Jorginho and N’Golo Kante have been ever-presents in our midfield this season

Jorginho in this moment is a very important player for us and he is used to playing my football. He is very useful for me, first of all, but also for his team-mates.

‘Kante is a great midfielder, and he is able to play in every position in my midfield. It’s not a problem for him! I have been surprised by the technical qualities of Kante.’

Sarri spoke about Ruben Loftus-Cheek who he says can feature more in the coming months

‘I am very, very happy with him. In the last 10 days he has improved a lot. I am really very happy with him. He will be important for sure, starting in September when we will play every three days. I think Loftus will be very useful for us.

‘I think he can be a Premier League starter at Chelsea. It’s not easy to play here, there are 25 very good players so it’s not easy to play in the starting XI, but if he improves more he will be ready to play from the beginning.

‘He has to improve in order to play my football. He has great qualities from the physical and technical point of view, but he has to improve in the tactical point of view.’

Sarri didn’t want to discuss the Europa League draw until he has had time to study our opponents, but he did reveal his and Howe’s relationship goes back years

‘Eddie came to Empoli three or four years ago for a few days, and then I had three days with him when Napoli played a friendly in Bournemouth last year.

‘I know him very well. He is a very interesting young coach. He will make a mark in English football in the future.

‘Bournemouth are very dangerous opponents for us. They are well organised, they are dangerous in counter-attacks, so the match will be very difficult for us, but we want to be in control of the match, and try to gain points.’

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