Chelsea’s new manager Maurizio Sarri says he has a month to whip his team into shape and make them familiar with the high-intensity, passing football which was nicknamed ‘Sarri-ball’ during his time at Napoli in Serie A.
His new-look Chelsea side looked impressive on the opening day of the season as they eased past Huddersfield 3-0 at the John Smith’s Stadium.
With the first international break four weeks away though, Sarri says that only now can he really get to work, as World Cup stars such as Eden Hazard, Olivier Giroud and N’Golo Kante returned to training just last week.
Sarri says that the next month will be crucial in determining the success of his team adapting to a new system, before Europa League and Carabao Cup games start to pile up.
Sarri claimed that he couldn’t simply replicate the attractive style for which he became famous at Empoli and Napoli but indicated that the next weeks would be critical.
‘I don’t want to do another Naples,’ said Sarri. ‘I want to do a good Chelsea. I have to adapt myself to the characteristics of this championship and of (my) players. I am studying my players.
‘We are lucky now as for four weeks we have only have a match a week. And then [after that] it will be difficult, especially with the national teams. So I hope in this month to improve the team.’
Sarri acknowledged that his team struggled against Huddersfield in the first half on Saturday because they lacked the tactical grounding is his way of playing to adapt to Huddersfield’s back three — a system they hadn’t yet faced in pre-season.
He said: ‘
They never played a 3-5-1-1 in pre-season. So we were not ready for this situation and it was a problem and this team did not have the experience against this.
‘Maybe for Napoli in the last year it wouldn’t have been a problem but for Chelsea, with some of the players only having had three days of training, it was a problem.’