Maurizio Sarri has revealed Alvaro Morata asked to leave a month ago, which is one of the reasons why Gonzalo Higuain has been brought in.
Morata hasn’t featured since the 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest in which he netted both goals and with plenty of media speculation surrounding his future, Sarri gave an update on the situation. He also confirmed Morata has been suffering from a small calf injury recently.
‘Morata is potentially a very good player,’ Sarri said. ‘He has the characteristics for playing in my team, but one month ago he said he wanted to play for another team.
‘It was very difficult for him to give us 100 per cent because of his mental situation. He is very suitable for my football, but the situation has changed in the last month, so we needed to change.
‘In the January market it is very difficult to get a very good striker. Gonzalo was in a situation we could try to get him, so we decided to try.’
Tonight the attention is on the pitch, where we meet Tottenham with a place in the Carabao Cup final at stake.
Sarri is hoping for a response from his players after Saturday’s loss at Arsenal, and he has clarified the intention of his comments after that match, as well as explaining what is being done to remedy the situation.
‘I discussed it with the players after the match. They agreed with me. I said to them the same things as I said in the press conference. It’s not a big problem. I want to be direct with them, in private and in public.
‘I didn’t attack my players. I only explained to the journalists my problem. They are very good boys, with this little problem I can help them with.
‘I also have the responsibility for their mental point of view. The performance was my fault of course, but I said I was in trouble because it is very difficult to motivate them. I didn’t want to attack them.
‘If we have a problem, we have to discuss the problem, try and find a reason for the problem,’ added Sarri. ‘We have to do something to improve it. Why do I need to keep it a secret?
‘We are changing something in training, and in the pre-match. We are trying to do our best.’