Recent interview with Sarri
“I’d say this Chelsea side is only at 60-70 per cent capacity right now, but how much we are missing and how much we need is not the same thing. It’s double that.”
“The whole Sarriball thing amuses me. I don’t go on social media, but I did see the fans post these videos with the most passes. If I have to be honest, the Chelsea fans aren’t even sure what Sarriball means. They invented this term, pronounce it all in one word and carry on. It’s very funny".
“It’s a dream to be here. I walked into Stamford Bridge and hear this shout: ‘Mauriziooooooo!’ Then the chants, it makes you want to pinch yourself. They usually do that for those who have won, but what have I won? I couldn’t believe it.”
“My working day usually lasts from 9am to 7pm, then two hours of viewing time for myself. It’s like a religion. I got a house 10 minutes from here, in Effingham, so they lock me up in my hermitic seal and if they knock, I don’t answer the door. I am immersed in my world".
“I achieved this almost at the age of 60. I don’t need to thank anyone other than those who cared for me, supported me and understood me, but not those who tried to exploit me. I spent my time in Serie C, that’s a league that grinds you down and spits you out.”
“The meat is very good here, it is becoming a pleasing habit to change from fish. They cook chicken wonderfully. The priority was always getting the language right.”
“Hazard is immense and I don’t think even he knows how much he can still improve. I said he could end up in the tight circle of the best three or four players in the world.
“The problem is he plays to enjoy himself and at times doesn’t realise the importance of moving from fun to reaping the rewards. At the end of the day, you’ve got to get the fruits of your labour.
“Hazard’s approach is a positive, but it can become a potential limitation too. He needs to lift his head up, look around and realise there’s a whole world in front of him that he can dictate with his feet for the good of the collective and not just the individual.
“He said such kind words about me, I wasn’t expecting that. His contract expires in 2020, but he’s staying here. I was tempted to use Hazard as a centre-forward and I might consider it again in future, but it’s not the right time now. We need to believe in Olivier Giroud and Alvaro Morata".
“David Luiz is a really sweet guy, exemplary and professional. Cesc Fabregas has immense quality, he returned from injury and I am proud to have him with me, as he’ll give us a big hand.”
“Jorginho knows what I am asking for and understands me straight away. I arrived at Napoli with him in the balance, but now he’s a treasure and playing for the Italy squad.
“It’s all about balance. Jorginho helps and guides the others, keeping them all involved.”
“I’ve been here for three months and at the start it was difficult. I arrived in mid-July, those players coming off the World Cup in August and we immediately had a tour in Australia, so there wasn’t much time. I had planned for a longer apprenticeship.
“I was helped by the Spanish players at Chelsea, those who already speak our football language. Now we’re having some fun. We needed a few more weeks at Napoli, but Serie A is different. Here I said to myself: ‘Watch out Maurizio, you dreamed for a lifetime to make this step, so now try to be yourself.’ “I saw the tactical mechanisms worked straight away, the results then pushed us on further.”
“I see Aurellio De Laurentis continues to say all sorts of things about me… Do me a favour: let’s just finish it with this whole argument. I will love Napoli and its fans for the rest of my life. I know what they think of me, how they think and when they think it. Always.
“Ours is a love that is unshakeable, eternal. The other night, I got so excited during Napoli 1-0 Liverpool. Excellent performance, to the last gasp. I declared, as a fan, that I was pleased to have tired Liverpool out a few days beforehand when they came to Stamford Bridge. The performance from Napoli was excellent.
“However, in Serie A there are no rivals for Juventus. When I used to say that, people thought I was just covering myself, yet they are already breaking away.
“This season, there are two candidates to win the Champions League: Juve and Manchester City. I always thought Pep Guardiola’s side was mature enough for the final step on the European stage, but then we’ll have to see how the Spanish clubs are doing in March. Things change quickly in the Champions League.”
“Insigne is the best Italian player right now. His turning point was quite simply believing in himself, more and more. He shook off the uncertainty and the pressure of someone who is forced to be a protagonist of his hometown club.
“If you think about it, this was just a matter of time. I don’t think it was an issue with his position: of course, if he plays closer to the goal as a striker, he’ll get more shots on target, because he has the quality.
“He can do everything. Initially, I had thought of him as a trequartista behind the strikers, then I moved him to the wing. Tactics and technique are bread and butter, I am always here to teach, but ultimately the player has to add his own ingredients, that final pass and the DNA that shakes you up and tells you to go conquer the world.
“That is what’s great about Lorenzo. Now he must keep pushing, as he identified the problem and took control, not just at Napoli either.
“After Lorenzo, I’d put Federico Bernardeschi, who is on his way to soon becoming world class. I’ll add Federico Chiesa in third, as he is a pure talent, generous, dynamic: he has the capabilities of someone born to succeed, he just needs to work on refining.”
on liverpool match
“There are moments when the grand spectacle of it all convinces you to put aside any regrets. Even if you concede at the last minute or five minutes into stoppages.
“That was an extraordinary show. Just 10 minutes earlier, I saw Klopp looking at me with the game going on. I asked: ‘Why are you smiling?’ He replied: ‘Aren’t you having fun?’
“I said: ‘So much’ and he added ‘Me too.’ He was losing at the time. Even after the equaliser, remembering that moment, we hugged like two old friends.
“I’m sure he would’ve done the same even if Liverpool hadn’t equalised. The Premier League has this joy of football.”
“I miss Higuain a great deal. I miss him because he’ll keep scoring goals until the day he dies. He is a goal machine, a systematic and automatic jackpot.”
“Whatever response I give will be considered wrong and put words into my mouth. All I can say is that I feel Gonzalo left Napoli too soon. If he had stayed for another season, I think… we could’ve been in a condition to win.
“Higuain was a part of the fantastic mechanism we created, we understood each other so well. It was perfect synchronicity and the regrets will probably stick with us.”
on transfer business
“My thoughts on the months dedicated to transfer negotiations are well known. I hate it all: summits, meetings, confrontations, a pain in the …. You reporters fill pages and hours of air time on the problems in Italian football, those unresolved and unresolvable issues.
“It’s possible this is a limitation of mine, but it’s what I’m like. I will train whoever I am given to work with, out of respect for those who must balance the books.
“That’s the way you like it, but I can’t wait for the ball to get rolling on the turf, the joy of a training session.”
credit to football-italia