Friday 20 September 2019

Maurizio Sarri: Chelsea would not accept four years without silverware

The Blues head to Tottenham on Saturday, with Mauricio Pochettino yet to win a trophy at Spurs.

Maurizio Sarri doubts he would be permitted four trophyless years as Chelsea boss (Martin Rickett/PA Images)
Maurizio Sarri doubts he would be permitted four trophyless years as Chelsea boss (Martin Rickett/PA Images)

By Matt McGeehan, Press Association Sport

Maurizio Sarri doubts Chelsea would tolerate four years without a trophy, like Tottenham have under Mauricio Pochettino.

Sarri and Pochettino have attracted plaudits, despite sharing the unwanted distinction of not having won any silverware in their managerial careers.

Sarri admits Chelsea’s history suggests he must end his drought to remain as boss.

Asked if he would be afforded four years at Chelsea without a trophy, Sarri said: “I don’t think so, but I don’t know. It’s up to the club – if it’s more important to win, or more important to improve the players.”

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Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino is yet to win a trophy in his managerial career (Adam Davy/PA Images)

Sarri takes his Blues side to Tottenham’s temporary Wembley ‘home’ on Saturday seeking to extend a 12-match unbeaten start to the Premier League season.

The expense of the construction of Tottenham’s new stadium at White Hart Lane and the continued uncertainty over when they will play there may have contributed to Pochettino being unable to end Spurs’ 10-year wait for a trophy.

Pochettino signed a contract extension until 2023 last summer and Sarri has sympathy with his lack of silverware.

“I want to win something just to avoid this question,” the 59-year-old Italian added.

“Sometimes there are the conditions for winning. Sometimes not.

“It’s clear he’s a very important coach, with a trophy or without a trophy.”

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Maurizio Sarri is a fan of Tottenham playmaker Christian Eriksen (Adam Davy/PA Images)

Antonio Conte, Sarri’s predecessor, was sacked in July despite winning the Premier League in his first season and the FA Cup in his second.

Conte spoke of his admiration for Tottenham striker Harry Kane.

Sarri was asked which Spurs player he would like if he could sign one and was happy to declare his appreciation of Christian Eriksen.

But when the subject of the Denmark player’s contract expiring came up, Sarri interjected.

He said: “No, no, no. I like him very much, but I don’t want to talk about a player of Tottenham for the (transfer) market, of course. I only answered a question.”

Sarri on Friday used his pre-match media conference to again play down his side’s title chances and promote Manchester City’s.

Liverpool are the only side likely to challenge City, Sarri says, and Chelsea are battling it out for the remaining Champions League qualification spots.

Pochettino claimed Chelsea and Arsenal have an advantage domestically due to playing in the second-tier Europa League, rather than the Champions League.

Sarri admits the quality of the competition may be advantageous, but the proximity of the fixtures is a distinct disadvantage, as he cited playing PAOK next Thursday and Fulham in the Premier League next Sunday.

Sarri added: “From a mental point of view, maybe we do have an advantage. From a physical point of view, no.”

Sarri hopes his side start more aggressively against Spurs after being dissatisfied by a “mental problem” in the last three games.

“The problem was that the opponents were more aggressive, more determined than us,” he added.

“It’s not a tactical problem, it’s not a physical problem. We have to approach the match in a different way, for application and determination.

“We have to be careful. We have to be focused on this problem.”

Chelsea have some undisclosed doubts, with Mateo Kovacic (ankle) expected to be in contention.

PA Media

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