Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri acknowledged that Manchester City were far superior to Chelsea as they ran out 2-0 winners in the Community Shield at Wembley.
Goals from Sergio Aguero early on in both halves handed last season’s Premier League title winners a comfortable win over Chelsea in Sarri’s first game in charge.
“There is a little difference… maybe not so little between us and City. The first half was not too bad but in the second there was a big difference from a physical point of view,” Sarri said. “From pre-season until now, it has been a bit crazy and so we have to work.”
Like their top-six rivals, Chelsea’s preparations for the new season have been hit by the late return of their World Cup players, while Jorginho, who debuted against City, is so far the club’s only first-team signing.
Sarri, who was only confirmed as Antonio Conte’s successor at Stamford Bridge on July 13, admitted that time is running out to get Chelsea physically ready for their Premier League opener against Huddersfield.
“I arrived here three weeks ago and I have never seen six players [at one time] so it is very difficult,” he said.
“It depends on me and the players but I don’t know. The work [training] has been very long sometimes, at other times not.
“In Naples, we were with difficulties for three or four matches but the season started at the beginning of July, not now.”
Although Chelsea were second best for much of the contest, there were some positives for their new manager as a number of players came through the full 90 minutes.
Ross Barkley was one of those and although he barely featured under Conte after joining from Everton in January, Sarri suggested he would be an important part of his plans this season.
“I like him, he’s a technical player, I like him very much. He has to improve on the defensive phase I think,” he said.
“It is difficult to play with Jorginho, Cesc [Fabregas] and Ross altogether. But I like him and think he will be very useful to us.”
Sarri spoke about Thibaut Courtois amid speculation his agent has asked for him to leave Chelsea
‘I am not interested in the agent. I want to hear from Courtois. If tomorrow Courtois says the same to me, I have to speak with my club. I want only players with a very high level of motivation, but I don’t have anything to say to the agent.’