Chelsea boss Sarri wary of Fulham after Ranieri sacking
Former Blues midfielder Scott Parker will be in caretaker charge of Fulham at Craven Cottage.
Chelsea head coach Maurizio Sarri is aware of the new manager bounce and is wary of Sunday’s opponents Fulham after Claudio Ranieri’s sacking.
Sarri’s future appeared to be in jeopardy until a mini-resurgence, with Sunday’s Carabao Cup final loss to Manchester City on penalties following the Europa League win over Malmo.
Wednesday’s 2-0 defeat of Tottenham was a further fillip, particularly following the furore which followed goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga’s refusal to be substituted with penalties looming at Wembley.
Former Chelsea midfielder Scott Parker will be in caretaker charge of Fulham at Craven Cottage and Sarri anticipates a response.
Asked about Ranieri’s departure, Sarri said: “I’m really very sorry. But I know very well his character, so I know very well that we will see him very soon, on another bench.
“Usually when there is change of the coach there is a reaction. And so we have to front (face) also the reaction.
“Then it’s very difficult for us to prepare the match, because we don’t know the new system, the new ideas. It’s a very difficult match, I think.”
Sarri reaffirms what he said after Wednesday's win over Tottenham that Kepa will be on the pitch in one of our next two matches. He says he is very happy with Willy Caballero, and knows now he can play in difficult matches. #FULCHE— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) March 1, 2019
Sarri is yet to decide whether to restore Kepa in goal, after dropping the Spaniard for the Spurs win. The 24-year-old was fined one week’s wages for “a big mistake”.
Willy Caballero started instead and will share goalkeeping duties with Kepa in the next two games. Chelsea play Dynamo Kiev in the Europa League last-16 first leg next Thursday.
The 60-year-old Blues boss added: “The Kepa situation now is closed. Kepa is our first (choice) goalkeeper.
“But we are very happy for Willy, because now we know very well he’s able to play also in a very difficult match.
“I’m sure in one of the two next matches Kepa will be on the pitch.”
Sarri says he has no injury concerns at present. He still needs to manage our recovery at this busy time and thinks he will make three or four changes to Wednesday's line-up. #FULCHE— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) March 1, 2019
Sarri has no injuries to consider, but expects to rotate his options after a challenging week.
He added: “I think we need to change three or four players, I don’t know how many (precisely).
“On Sunday we played for 130 minutes and 95 minutes on Wednesday, so we need to value the recovery.
“We ran for 15 kilometres on Sunday on average, and the average of the last match was 12km.
“I need to value the recovery of every single player. Then we have to decide (the team).”
Sarri believes Chelsea are finding some consistency in their performances now, which he hopes will continue.
“We need to continue, first of all, with the performance because the result is only a consequence,” Sarri added.
Chelsea’s club captain is Gary Cahill, but the defender has not played since November and is out of contract at the end of the season.
Cahill was linked with a January move to relegation-threatened Fulham, which did not transpire.
“I know very well in the dressing room he’s very important,” Sarri added.
“So we use him in the right way, I think. Because every player, every member of the staff knows very well he’s very important for our dressing room.”