Giroud: Healthy competition

Olivier Giroud believes the team have benefited from Maurizio Sarri’s meticulous attention to detail in the early part of the campaign, after making it five wins out of five against Cardiff on Saturday.

Giroud was handed his first start of the season against the Bluebirds and led the line superbly, providing assists for the first two of Eden Hazard’s three goals.

The overall quality of the striker’s display led to Hazard describing him as ‘maybe the best targetman in the world,’ and the French striker provided some insight into the duo’s relationship.

‘Wow, that’s very nice from him,’ Giroud replied, after being told about the compliment from Hazard. ‘Obviously he knows what I think about him and he knows how much I enjoy playing with him, not just him, all of my team-mates, but it’s true that we’ve got a good relationship on and off the pitch.

‘He knows how to play with me and I know how to play with him. Sometimes it goes very well, like against Cardiff, and that’s good for the team. I’m happy to help him score another hat-trick.

‘When I can’t create an opportunity to score or finish myself, I love to put my team-mates in a good position to finish. Eden knows me very well and when I can reach him in the box I do it. His quality is a different level in front of the box and in front of goal and he finished well. He always knows that I try to find him and I hope next time he will give me one back.’

Saturday’s 4-1 win took us to the top of the table, with a London derby away at West Ham United up next in the Premier League on Sunday following a midweek visit to Greece, and Giroud has praised the influence of Sarri, describing the qualities the Italian possesses.

‘He’s special,’ said the forward. ‘He’s very special. He loves football, he’s very passionate. He doesn’t leave any surprises and he wants everything under control, that’s why we’re doing so much tactical work every day.

‘He’s someone who is very precise in his management and he wants his team to do what he wants on the pitch. He looks at every single detail and he wants us to be very well organised. That’s why he gives us this mentality. We want to carry on the good momentum. We are on a good run. We are very ambitious in this championship so obviously every game is very important.’

After helping France win the World Cup in the summer, Giroud was pleased to be named in the starting line-up for the first time this season on Saturday. Alvaro Morata had started the previous four victories, but Giroud says regardless of which striker is chosen to lead the line, the success of the team is ultimately all that matters.

‘At the beginning of the season I came back very late after the World Cup and obviously I had to be very patient and wait to be at a decent physical level,’ he explained. ‘The coach said he wasn’t going to change too much until the end of August, he was clear about that. Obviously Eden played before me but he’s such an important player for us, he’s our playmaker so we needed him as soon as possible.

‘Alvaro did very well at the beginning of the season, he did the full pre-season so to me it was only fair and normal that he started the season. It’s always been a fair competition between us so now we will try to both step up and help the team achieve our targets.

‘I’m happy to have a team-mate like that to always push me to do better and better. I’m sure it’s positive for both of us but obviously I want to play as many games as I can and I will try to be as efficient as I can for the team.’

- You can watch Hazard praising Giroud in the video below.