Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri spoke ahead of today’s clash between the Blues and Manchester City, who bounced back from their unexpected defeat at Newcastle with two comfortable wins against Arsenal and Everton last time out.
The Italian boss, speaking at a press conference, said: “You know very well that the midfield of Manchester City is one of the best in the world, with Fernandinho, De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva, David Silva”
“Technically I think they have the best midfield in Europe at the moment so it will be very difficult to be in control of the match, but I think the match is more than just the strikers”.
Sarri added: “They are able to play if you can stop Fernandinho and I think we are able to play also if you stop Jorginho. We have options. Maybe they have more options than us because they have worked on this for three seasons, but I remember in Naples it wasn’t a big problem if there was a man on Jorginho, so I hope it will be the same here in the future”.
“Of course, we have another striker, but we can make other decisions and maybe we will play with a false nine. I have to decide, the situation is not unlike in the other matches”.
On his rival Pep Guardiola: “I expect his team to always want to be in control of the match and always be in possession of the ball, and they are able to do it so it is a very difficult match”.
“We are used to having the ball possession and today it will be very difficult, so maybe we will have to defend lower. We will try to play our football, but if they are able to play their football, of course you have to stay lower. In the first match, they were able to press us in our half, it wasn’t a choice, it was a necessity and I think this match will be the same.
“We were lucky to score and then in the second half, especially in the first 20 or 25 minutes of the half, they gave us spaces, so it was a little bit easier”.
Man City manager Pep Guardiola believes also Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspurs and Arsenal are currently involved in the race to lift the Premier League title in May. Liverpool are currently leading the table with 42 points, one above the Citizens.
The Spaniard, speaking after his side’s away defeat against Maurizio Sarri‘s men at Stamford Bridge, told journalists: “We are in December, also Tottenham or Chelsea or Arsenal can win the Premier League: everybody can win the Premier League.”
Guardiola added: “We monopolise the ball like Chelsea, we create the chances, we have two thousand million passes”.
“They beat us in one counter-attack and one set piece. We played the way we want to play. After that, when the opponent is good it’s always to congratulate them, shake hands and improve for the next game.”
What a match for Blues today! Little Sarri gave lessons to the teacher and won against big Guardiola. Italian coach usually admitted, in the past, that he is inspired by Pep’ play and when the two manager met in Champions League, when Sarri was in Napoli, Guardiola congratulated with Italian coach for his play, hard to fight and difficult to win.
But in that occasion, finally Pep won against Maurizio. Today Maurizio Sarri is a Chelsea manager and with a attentive and zealous preparation and way to manager the match, take is revenge and won against Pep but not only. Sarri won against Pep but Chelsea won against Manchester City, current Premier League’ Champions who, now, set back just 7 point.
Sarri came to press conference of course satisfied for the game expressed by his guys and for the winning spoke about the match and about his choice that permitted the winning like, for example Hazard position.
‘We had Eden for the first time in that position – like a striker – and in the first 20 or 25 minutes we didn’t work well in the defensive movements in the opposition half, but fortunately we defended well in our half. We started to press better and after the first goal the game changed’.
‘We played very well in the last few minutes of the first half, and the first 20 minutes of the second, and in the end we deserved to win.
‘We’re very happy with the win, we know it’s not easy to beat City in this moment. For me it’s not easy to win against Pep, as you know, so I’m very happy but now we need to find this kind of motivation and play with this level of determination and aggressivity in other matches, otherwise its useless winning matches like this.’
‘We knew there would maybe be more space for counter attacks, but it wasn’t a total choice to defend in our half.’
He spoke also about Kante and David Luiz who, both played a good match
‘I think Kante scored by chance because they played very close to Jorginho, more than in the other matches. He defended very well and had some good counter attacks. Then he was in the box for the first goal, but today he played in the right position, very close to Jorginho. He played very well.’
‘I have to say I was very happy with him from the beginning. Of course there are matches like this one in which it’s easier to stay on the defensive line because the offensive movements are working very well, and there are matches when that’s difficult, like Tottenham, because the defensive phase of the team is a disaster. Today he played a really good match.’
He also spoke about Alvaro
‘The reason was clear; we played with Hazard as a striker and so if we had to change something there was Giroud. I think it was useless to have two strikers on the bench, I prefer more midfielders because today I was in trouble with wingers, so the only option was Loftus-Cheek.’
And to finish he also spoke about the gap with Manchester City
‘I think it’s impossible to close the gap in one season. You can play one match but in a competition of 10 months it’s very difficult. I think they are the best team in Europe. We won today but we have to say we were a bit lucky in the first 25 because they could have scored.
‘I’m very happy with the win because it’s very diff to win against Guardiola’s team. I know they are a step ahead, we have to work to cover the gap. We will try and I’m very happy.’
Chelsea sealed a crucial win at Stamford Bridge against Man City and get back to winning after two away defeats (against Tottenham Hotspurs and Wolves, last time out).
The Blues deserves an extra credit as they scored with their first attack in a tough first half.
Goals from N’Golo Kante and David Luiz are enough and mean that Chelsea are still in the race for the Premier League title after getting 34 points from 16 games so far.
Maurizio Sarri, who marked his first ever win against Pep Guardiola, held the Citizens to their first defeat in the league. For the visitors, David Silva limped off with a hamstring injury
Liverpool are now leaders of the Premier League table with 42 points, one ahead of City and 8 ahead of Chelsea.
CHELSEA (4-3-3) Kepa; Azpilicueta, Rudiger, David Luiz, Alonso; Kante, Jorginho, Kovacic (Barkley 64′); Pedro, Hazard (Giroud 88′), Willian (Loftus-Cheek 74′)
MAN CITY (4-3-3): Ederson, Walker, Stones, Laporte, Delph; B Silva, Fernandinho, D Silva (Gundogan 66′); Mahrez (Foden 83′), Sterling, Sane (Jesus 52′)
Scorers: Kante 45′ David Luiz 78′
Bookings: Jorginho Pedro
BRIGHTON HOVE&ALBION 3-2 MANCHESTER UNITED – Two goals in two minutes from Glenn Murray and Shane Duffy put Brighton Hove&Albion in front in the first half, before Romelu Lukaku reduced the gap for Manchester United with a header from a close-range. Then Pascal Groß converted a penalty to put the Seagulls in control at halftime.
A stoppage-time penalty scored by Paul Pogba was not enough for a late comeback and Josè Mourinho’s men suffer their second defeat in a row at the Amex Stadium (following the 1-0 defeat in the 2017/18 season).
MANCHESTER CITY 6-1 HUDDERSFIELD TOWN – Three goals from Sergio Aguero led the Citizens to their second consecutive Premier League win after beating Huddersfield Town in style last night. The Argentinian star was clinical as he exploited properly an assist from goalkeeper Ederson in the 25th minute, when Pep Guardiola’s men took the lead at the Etihad Stadium. El Kun and Gabriel Jesus made it easier for Man City, who ended the first half with a 3-1 score.
David Silva canceled out Stankovic’s late-goal in the first half after curling a wonderful free-kick past Hamer in the 47th minute. Then Aguero’s third goal and an unfortunate own-goal from Kongolo secured a 6-1 win at home.
Premier League winners Manchester City face FA Cup champions Chelsea in the Community Shield today. Here’s how both teams are expected to start:
Chelsea: Caballero, Azpilicueta, Rudiger, David Luiz, Alonso, Jorginho, Fabregas, Barkley, Pedro, Hudson-Odoi, Morata
Subs: Bulka, Christensen, Zappacosta, Drinkwater, Moses, Willian, Abraham
Manchester City: Bravo, Walker, Stones, Laporte, Mendy, Fernandinho, Foden, Mahrez, Bernardo Silva, Sane, Aguero
Subs: Ederson, Kompany, Gundogan, Otamendi, Jesus, Diaz, Gomes
HT – CHELSEA 0-1 MAN CITY – Sergio Aguero scores a vital goal for Pep Guardiola‘s men in the 13rd minute. Chelsea struggling to go forward in a tough first period at Wembley. Man City also went close to double the score with Leroy Sané following a sloppy pass in midfield from latest Chelsea signing Jorginho.
FT – CHELSEA 0-2 MAN CITY The Argentina striker, who had two massive chances to score earlier in the second half, put the ball past Caballero following a mistake from Hudson-Odoi, well exploited by Stones, Gundogan and David Silva through a brilliant build-up. The current Premier League champions were dominant also in the second half, with Chelsea going close to scoring just in the 89th minute, when Ross Barkley fed Tammy Abraham, who collided with Man City keeper Bravo.
Chelsea fail to lift the Community Shield for the fifth consecutive appearance (2010, 2012, 2015, 2017 and 2018).
Maurizio Sarri has also been asked if he wants to be labelled with a nickname just as José Mourinho did with “The Special One”.
The new Chelsea manager, speaking at his first press conference in Stamford Bridge, told journalists: “I would like everyone here just to call me Maurizio. Just Maurizio”.
On Mourinho: “He has won everything and I think that this is enough for a manager. Someone who has this track record does not need a description. We are talking about a world level manager. I esteem Pep, and the other managers, my style is closest to Guardiola”
And on Guardiola: Well he is a class act, he is a champion and a genius. It is difficult to explain his insights. Clearly he had some difficulties in the first year, but reaching 100 points in Premier League is extraordinary and might not be repeated. For us we need to fill in a gap. I hope last year was an occasional gap”.
About his past faux pas towards Roberto Mancini back in 2016 and an Italian journalist last season, Sarri noted: “People make mistakes”.
“One was made when I was angry, the other was not a mistake because she was a journalist who I shared jokes with for three years, it was miscronstued. Those who know me very well, I am not homophobic/racist or sexist”.
“I do not have this type of problem and I hope to show this when I work and live here. Mistakes were made and you have to apologise and a professional attitude is needed”.
About the relationship with Roman Abramovich: “This is something where our owner is a reserved person. I don’t want to start a work relationship with him by speaking about private things. This is a private relationship and I hope this is respected, also given the characteristics of our owner”.
Here’s the first interview of new Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri, who spoke to the club’s official TV following his appointment at Stamford Bridge on a three-year-deal.
“First of all I have to say thank you to the people of Naples” Sarri said
“Because they helped me in every way for three years. I love them very much and I will always love them. Five years ago I was in Italy in Serie B, while Chelsea are one of the most important clubs in the most important championship in Europe. There are all the most important coaches in the Premier League”.
“It will be interesting to play against Mourinho, Guardiola, Klopp, Pochettino and all the others. Pep [Guardiola] is principally a friend, so I think he has spoken well about me for this reason”.
“It’s very difficult to describe me as a manager: first of all I love the game, I love football and all the rest is a consequence. I think at Naples I was very lucky to find many players very adapted to my way of football and very strong from the human point of view and as players. So I think I was lucky to transport my idea on the pitch for the quality essentially of this players”.
“I think Chelsea is a good team, the problem is that in England there are other five or six very good teams too. I think with one or two adjustments we can try to play my football. I want to enjoy first of all myself, the players have to enjoy themselves and first of all I hope that fans can enjoy the team”.
On Jorginho: “He’s not a physical but a technical player. His most important quality is that he can be very quick in the mind, so he has the ability to move the ball quickly”.
“We have to play, to work very hard. So for the first game I think the result is not very important, but we have to try to give the best. Football is my first passion, I like to read novels too. The last one that I loved was Vargas Llosa”.
“I am here for football. I am here for Chelsea. I want to play at Stamford Bridge, for me it is a dream. So, London is a wonderful city but I am here for Chelsea. My english is not very good since I started English more than 30 years ago and today I have lost everything”.
“I want to enjoy the fans, the fans will have to be proud about the team. I want to play my football and enjoy myself. And probably I want also to win some trophies. What can I Say? 100% hard work, 90% fun. It’s impossible in my job to promise something else but I surely will give all my possession to win something with Chelsea”.
Manchester City win their 5th title with 4 games remaining as Manchester United suffered a home defeat against bottom club West Bromwich Albion this afternoon at Old Trafford. Jay Rodriguez’s late strike secured a vital win in their race to avoid the relegation.
Former Southampton, Blackburn and Newcastle striker Alan Shearer said after the game: “Man City have been the best team by an absolute mile – the points tell you that. They’ve played some brilliant stuff all season, they’ve been magnificent in the league, congratulations to them. Pep will enjoy the 19th hole today I’m sure.”
Chelsea, who lifted the title on 12th of May last year, remain 17 points behind the newly-crowned Premier League champions. Man City have equalled an English league record as only Manchester United in 1907/08 and 2000/01 campaigns and Everton in 1984/85 succeeded in winning the title with 4 games still to go.