Maurizio Sarri on his team’s recent performances, Gonzalo Higuain’s adaption to English football, and the possibility of transfers before the window shuts…
The fixtures keep coming thick and fast and Maurizio Sarri says his squad’s physical performance continues to impress. Where they must improve now is in achieving consistency in attitude and approach.
The Blues return to Premier League action at Bournemouth tomorrow night after victories over Tottenham and Sheffield Wednesday in the two domestic cup competitions, which ensures our fight for trophies remains alive on four different fronts, something Sarri pointed out in his media conference this afternoon when asked about the state of our season.
‘We are fighting,’ he said. ‘In Europe at the moment there are only two teams involved in four different competitions. I am very happy with this. We have to play a very difficult final, a very difficult match in the FA Cup, and we have to fight in the Premier League.
‘We showed we are able to react to a difficulty. Now we need to show continuity in our approach to matches, when we have to manage a match. The last two matches were very good, but now we need to show continuity.
‘When I look at the numbers, we have a very good physical performance in quantity and quality,’ he added.
‘Of course it depends on the mental condition. When we have very high levels of motivation, we have better numbers in our physical performance.
‘At the moment it’s going well, but I don’t know why, because we had a very unusual pre-season. I have to say the numbers are really very good.’
Sarri reported he has no major injury concerns ahead of the trip to the Vitality Stadium, where he will be able to call upon Gonzalo Higuain for the first time in the league
‘It’s not easy to adapt to this championship. The Premier League is so difficult. At the end of the game [on Sunday], Higuain said it is so aggressive, but here it’s normal!
‘It’s not easy but he has the right experience, he’s a great player, and he has to run to adapt in a few matches. He has to do everything in less than one month, otherwise it’s late.’
Sarri commented on Higuain’s decision to let Willian take the penalty against Sheffield Wednesday
‘I was a little bit surprised, because he wants to score in every match, but I appreciated it because he gave the ball to Willy. This was a wonderful start. It means he is available to his team-mates for everything. I appreciated it very much.’
Sarri was asked about Kepa’s development since signing in the summer
‘He is improving. He has spent a lot of time adapting himself to English football. In England, in the Premier League in the box, it’s another sport! If you compare the same situation with Spain and Italy, here it’s different.
‘It’s not easy for a young Spanish goalkeeper to adapt himself to this championship, but he has improved very fast. He will be for sure one of the best goalkeepers in Europe in the future.’
On the subject of transfers, Sarri said he had no update on the futures of Gary Cahill and Danny Drinkwater ahead of the transfer window closing on Thursday. He also considered the prospect of somebody coming in to replace Cesc Fabregas and, if not, who can play in that position instead when Jorginho doesn't.
‘For us I thought it was important to get two players. One has arrived, and I’m waiting for the other. If he arrives I will be very happy, otherwise I have to work with these players. It’s not a big problem. Of course I have to adapt players in that position.
‘[Ethan] Ampadu didn’t play very well in that position [on Sunday], but he is very young, it’s a new position, it’s not easy to play there in our team.
‘In the second half we tried with Mateo [Kovacic]. Mateo is able to move the ball very fast, very cleanly, and now we have to see if he is able to play there in a defensive match.’