Maurizio Sarri assesses Manchester City match, provides injury update and considers title prospects…
Chelsea were the first Premier League team to beat Manchester City this season, and Maurizio Sarri has pinpointed what we must do if we are to repeat the trick on Sunday.
The boss addressed the media at Cobham this afternoon ahead of a meeting with the new league leaders at the Etihad on Sunday.
Sarri began by reporting good news regarding squad availability. Callum Hudson-Odoi had a short fever and Gary Cahill a minor back injury, but neither problem is serious and the boss is confident he will have a full squad to choose from in the North-West.
We ended Man City’s unbeaten start to the league season back in December, when goals from N’Golo Kante and David Luiz secured a fine 2-0 win, and Sarri remembered that performance and considered what is required for us to get another positive result this weekend.
‘We were lucky, because we scored in a very difficult moment of the match,’ he said.
‘Maybe we deserved to win in the second half. In that match we defended really very well, because they only had three goal opportunities, no more, and it’s not easy to give them only three or four opportunities. At home they have scored 43 goals in 13 matches, more than three on average, so we need to defend very well.
‘We need to be very fast when we recover the ball, because if you are first to the lost ball they are able to press very well, and it’s very difficult to exit the situation.
‘If we are able to do that, we can find spaces, but it will be very difficult.’
Pep Guardiola suggested earlier this week we are title contenders
‘I don't think so, not at the moment. We will be able to fight for the top four this season, no more. We can win something of course, but in the Premier League there is a fight between Liverpool and Man City. In my opinion, Man City are the best team in Europe. They are an example for every club.
‘We need to work. Guardiola is in the third season in the Premier League, Klopp in the fourth or fifth, but we need to work. I don’t know another way.
‘We need only to work and try to reduce the gap.’
Sarri was asked what Chelsea team he expected to turn up after some mixed results of late
‘In the last match we reacted very well. After the match against Huddersfield I was happy with the result, but especially the performance.
‘We know very well we need consistency. I hope our version on Sunday will be the best.’