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Maurizio Sarri’s take on two midfielders for Chelsea and West Ham

Maurizio Sarri has been impressed enough with Mateo Kovacic when he has played the Croatian in the deepest position in his midfield this season to consider him an option for that important role in his team for the future.

Maurizio Sarri has been impressed enough with Mateo Kovacic when he has played the Croatian in the deepest position in his midfield this season to consider him an option for that important role in his team for the future.

Earlier in the season, our manager had labelled the now-departed Cesc Fabregas as his alternative to Jorginho in that fulcrum role, but he since fielded Kovacic there from the start in games against Malmo and Dynamo Kiev and he has clearly made an impression.

‘We have some problems in that position, because we have only Jorginho, but in my opinion Kovacic could become a very good central midfielder,’ states Sarri.

‘Of course he is not a defensive midfielder, but as you know in that position I prefer a very technical player. In the last match Jorginho touched the ball 161 times so for us it is important to have big quality in that position, big quality not for the final pass but big quality in moving the ball.

‘I want to try with Kovacic,’ Sarri confirms. ‘He is on loan of course but I would like very much for him to stay with us.’
 

In a similar area of the West Ham team tonight is likely to be former Chelsea schoolboy player Declan Rice, recently capped by England. Sarri has shared some thoughts on this member of the opposition.

‘He is a very good player, very good in the defensive phase because he is very able to recover the ball. He usually plays very close to the defensive line and in the first match we played versus West Ham, it was a very big problem for us. He is improving in the offensive phase, he has improved during the season. I saw their last matches and I saw a very good midfielder.’

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