Interview

Fresh options important for Maurizio Sarri

Maurizio Sarri says having fresh and hungry options like Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Callum Hudson-Odoi in his squad could make a big difference in the coming weeks.

The two English youngsters have had to be patient in waiting for their chances in the first team so far as they adapted to Sarri’s style of football, with so many experienced rivals for a spot in the starting XI, but the Italian is certain they are now ready to play a big part in the rest of our campaign.

Plus, with less game time comes less fatigue, and both players have looked full of energy and eager to impress in their recent performances, with Hudson-Odoi earning his first Premier League start against Brighton in midweek as Loftus-Cheek got his name on the score sheet for the second game in a row, having also scored our late winner at Cardiff City last weekend.

‘At the beginning of the season, Hudson-Odoi had a very great potential but wasn’t ready to play in the Premier League,’ explained Sarri. ‘Loftus-Cheek was the same, Loftus-Cheek had only to adapt to my football, to improve tactically for my football. Then he had a lot of problems with his back and so we had to wait for him.

‘But now they are fresh, they are ready. They are improving so in this moment of the season they are fresh. I think that in this moment they are really very important for us.’

The Italian is also hoping his team can set the record straight when we host West Ham United at Stamford Bridge tomorrow, after we were held to a disappointing stalemate of a 0-0 draw at their London Stadium earlier in the season.

That fixture in September came on the back of a long and testing away trip, having secured a tough 1-0 victory in a hostile atmosphere away at PAOK in the Europa League on the preceding Thursday night. However, Sarri feels his team will be much better placed to show our true quality this time around, when the Hammers come to the Bridge.

‘I think in that match we were not brilliant from the physical point of view,’ he said. ‘We played three days before in Greece and we arrived to the match not particularly ready, mentally and physically.’

Read: Maurizio Sarri on his team selection for West Ham

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