Sarri Not Intimidated By Rome Rival Mourinho’s Successes

File photo: ex-Juventus’ Italian coach Maurizio Sarri looks on during the Italian Cup (Coppa Italia) round of 16 football match Juventus vs Udinese on January 15, 2020 at the Juventus stadium in Turin. Isabella BONOTTO / AFP

 

Jose Mourinho’s trophy cabinet may be bulging but new Lazio boss Maurizio Sarri said Friday that counts for nothing as the former Chelsea managers prepare to share the Stadio Olimpico next season.

Mourinho will coach Roma while Sarri takes charge of city rivals Lazio, both housed in the same stadium in the Italian capital.

“I can’t see this great dualism with Mourinho,” Sarri told a press conference in the Italian capital.

“I met him and he is a good character. He has won much more than me, has a higher pedigree than mine, even if it doesn’t count for anything. In the derby we will do everything, and more, to get through the match.”

Mourinho, 58, famously dubbed himself ‘the Special One’ to announce his arrival at Chelsea, who he lead to a first English league title in 50 years in 2005, going on to win two more league titles, and eight trophies in total in Stamford Bridge.

The Portuguese, who has won 25 trophies as a coach in his career including the Champions League with Inter Milan and Porto, signed for Roma two weeks after being sacked by Tottenham.

Sarri won his first coaching trophy with Chelsea in the Europa League in 2019 before moving to Juventus where he won Serie A in 2000 before being dismissed.

But the 62-year-old believes he has found the right fit in Lazio, a team who have won Serie A twice, most recently in 2000.

“I chose Lazio for two reasons — a personal one and a sporting one,” said the Italian coach famed for his ‘Sarriball’ fast-paced, possession-based style brand of attacking football at Napoli from 2015-18.

“I saw in this club the characteristics to express myself at best. In this team I see the conditions to play the football I like.

“Lazio comes at a time when I needed this type of club, with these characteristics, which could lead me to do this job in the way that suits me best.”

He added: “The club wanted to me to sign a four-year contract.

“I wanted it shorter because I want to be sure in two years that I have the same energy. We will play in a different way, we will try to remain competitive.”

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In this file photo taken on March 4, 2021, Tottenham Hotspur’s Portuguese head coach Jose Mourinho looks on during the English Premier League football match between Fulham and Tottenham Hotspur at Craven Cottage in London.  NEIL HALL / POOL / AFP

 

Sarri takes over from Simone Inzaghi who moved to Serie A champions Inter Milan after five years in Rome.

Inzaghi beat Sarri’s Juventus to lift the Italian Super Cup in 2019 and also challenged for the Serie A title in the 2019-2020 season before finishing fourth after the coronavirus disruption.

Lazio finished sixth last season.

AFP

‘Incredible’ Ronaldo Will Rediscover Best Form – Sarri

Juventus' Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo reacts during the Italian Cup (Coppa Italia) semi-final second leg football match Juventus vs AC Milan on June 12, 2020 at the Allianz stadium in Turin, the first to be played in Italy since March 9 and the lockdown aimed at curbing the spread of the COVID-19 infection, caused by the novel coronavirus.
File: Juventus’ Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo reacts during the Italian Cup (Coppa Italia) semi-final second leg football match Juventus vs AC Milan on June 12, 2020 at the Allianz stadium in Turin, the first to be played in Italy since March 9 and the lockdown aimed at curbing the spread of the COVID-19 infection, caused by the novel coronavirus. Miguel MEDINA / AFP

 

Juventus coach Maurizio Sarri has told Cristiano Ronaldo not to worry about his slow resumption to the season, insisting on Sunday the Portuguese star will return to being “the most incredible player of all time”.

They will play their first Serie A match in over three months against Bologna on Monday, four days after losing the Italian Cup final to Napoli.

The Serie A leaders failed to score in their two Cup matches since the Italian season resumed following the coronavirus lockdown, with goalless draws against AC Milan in the semi-finals, where Ronaldo missed a penalty, and with Napoli in the final before a 4-2 defeat on penalties.

“I spoke to Cristiano again yesterday. He must not worry about trust,” Sarri said.

“He must not lose confidence, as soon as he regains his brilliance he will return to being the most incredible player of all time.

“At the moment, physically he cannot give the maximum.”

Ronaldo, 35, has scored 25 goals for Juventus in all competitions this season.

He spent the coronavirus lockdown in his native Portugal.

“We must not forget that we have arrived after being inactive for 60 days and the physical brilliance cannot be at the highest levels,” said Sarri.

Ronaldo also failed to find the net in Juventus’ last two matches before the lockdown, having scored in nine straight matches before that.

Juventus have just a one-point advantage over Lazio in the Serie A table, as they target a ninth consecutive Scudetto.

The 61-year-old urged his players to “turn the page” quickly having lost two finals this season, after the Italian Super Cup loss to Lazio in December.

“Losing a trophy is always painful, it hurts, it gives disappointment and bitterness, but this is the situation and we must not beat ourselves up,” said the former Chelsea coach.

“We have to turn the page and think about our next games. We hope to improve quickly in the next 10 days, both in physical and mental condition.”

Sarri, meanwhile, dismissed reports he had a training ground bust-up with Bosnia midfielder Miralem Pjanic.

“The story of my quarrel with him is fake news,” said Sarri.

“Pjanic is one of the guys I talk to the most and, like the whole team in the last two games, he has played well in the opening minutes, dropping a bit during the game.”

 

Juventus Signs Sarri On Three-Year Contract

Chelsea’s Italian head coach Maurizio Sarri
Ian KINGTON / AFP

 

Maurizio Sarri was named new coach of Juventus on Sunday after his exit from Chelsea following a troubled single campaign in London was confirmed by both clubs.

Sarri returns to Italy on a three-year deal just a season after leaving Napoli for Stamford Bridge, where he failed to garner fan support despite winning the Europa League and returning the Blues to the Champions League thanks to a third-place finish in the Premier League.

“Maurizio Sarri has returned to Italy, where he has coached for the majority of his career. And from today, he will take over the reins at Juventus with a contract until June 30, 2022,” Juventus said in a statement.

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The Europa League win last month was Sarri’s first major trophy as a coach, but he will be expected to deliver far more in Turin.

Juventus have won Serie A for the past eight seasons, denying Sarri’s former club Napoli in the process.

However, Massimiliano Allegri left at the end of the campaign after failing to guide the Italian giants to Champions League glory despite the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo last year.

With Ronaldo now 34, winning the Italian giants’ first Champions League title since 1996 will be Sarri’s top priority.

Chelsea, meanwhile, must now turn their attention to hiring an 11th permanent manager of Roman Abramovich’s reign in charge of the club.

“In talks, we had following the Europa League final, Maurizio made it clear how strongly he desired to return to his native country, explaining that his reasons for wanting to return to work in Italy were significant,” Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia said in a statement.

Chelsea are expected to try and lure the club’s record goalscorer Frank Lampard back to Stamford Bridge.

Lampard has had just one full season in club management at Derby County, who he led to the final of the Championship playoffs.

Chelsea Manager Sarri Charged With Misconduct

 

Fourth official Roger East (R) directs Chelsea’s Italian head coach Maurizio Sarri from the technical area during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Burnley at Stamford Bridge in London / AFP

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has been charged with misconduct by the Football Association following his late dismissal in Monday’s 2-2 draw with Burnley.

The 60-year-old Italian has until Friday to answer to the charge.

Sarri’s assistant Gianfranco Zola claimed after the match that the decision to send his compatriot to the stands was unfair as he “was just trying to tell our players to get in position”.

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“Maurizio Sarri has been charged with misconduct in relation to his behaviour in the 94th minute of Monday’s (22/04/2019) Premier League fixture between Chelsea and Burnley,” read an FA statement.

“The Chelsea manager has until 18:00 (1700 GMT) on Friday (26/04/2019) to provide a response.”

Sarri’s expulsion comes as pressure mounts on him to deliver Champions League football for next season. His compatriot Antonio Conte was sacked after failing to do so last season.

Chelsea occupy the fourth and final qualifying place but the two dropped points at home against lowly Burnley could prove costly.

They are only a point better off than Arsenal, who can leapfrog them later on Wednesday if they get at least a draw at Wolves.

Sarri’s last resort may come in winning the Europa League — Chelsea play German outfit Eintracht Frankfurt in the semi-finals — with Arsenal as potential opponents in the final should the Gunners beat Valencia.

Sarri Worried About Chelsea’s ‘Mentality’ After Everton Defeat

Everton’s English striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin (C) heads over the bar during the English Premier League football match between Everton and Chelsea at Goodison Park in Liverpool, north-west England on March 17, 2019. Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Maurizio Sarri admitted he is worried about his Chelsea team’s “mentality” after they fell to a 2-0 defeat at Everton that severely damages their hopes of a top-four finish in the Premier League.

Richarlison and Gylfi Sigurdsson, converting his own saved penalty, scored the second-half goals at Goodison Park on Sunday that halted Chelsea’s recent league improvements and marked Everton’s first win over ‘Big Six’ opposition in 26 games, a run dating back to January 2017.

But the goals followed a first half of utter Chelsea domination in which they somehow failed to beat Everton’s England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford and the subsequent collapse has clearly concerned the London club’s manager.

“I’m worried about our mentality,” said Sarri. “I think the situation is clear.

“We played probably the best 45 minutes of the season then, suddenly, at the beginning of the second half, we stopped playing. I don’t know why.”

The Italian added: “We played really very well until the last minute of the first half and then suddenly very badly in the first minute of the second half.

“It’s very difficult for players to explain to me the change. Very difficult for me to explain to you the change, probably it is a mental block I think.”

Richarlison struck in the 49th minute after Sigurdsson’s right-wing corner had been met by a powerful header from Dominic Calvert-Lewin which Kepa Arrizabalaga saved well on his goal-line.

But Everton’s Brazilian forward reacted first to force the rebound over the line from close range, a goal that came largely against the run of play.

Arrizabalaga had saved a good effort from Andre Gomes seconds earlier and did likewise in keeping out Sigurdsson’s 71st-minute penalty, awarded after Marcos Alonso stood on the foot of Richarlison.

‘Big limit’

But the Iceland international kept his composure from the rebound, completing the routine task of tapping the ball into the open goal, denying Chelsea the chance to go level on points with Arsenal, who are one point behind third-placed arch-rivals Tottenham Hotspur.

After falling out of the title race, Maurizio Sarri men are now at risk of missing out on a top-four finish. Photo: Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

“At the moment, it is our limit,” added Sarri. “I think because if we are able to play like in the first half, with consistency, I think we are in another position in the table but we have this problem.

“It is a big limit for is because we lost a similar match in Wolverhampton, today we lost so for us at the moment it’s a big limit.

“Today was really, really important for us so now we have one less opportunity but I think we have to fight to defend those opportunities.”

The best of Chelsea’s first-half chances saw Eden Hazard strike the post from a curling sixth-minute shot, with Gonzalo Higuain missing a glorious opening moments later, under pressure from Yerry Mina.

Pickford also made a superb second-half save, from Callum Hudson-Odoi’s fierce shot although, by then, the outcome had been settled with Everton fans enjoying a bonus moment when former star Ross Barkley, who left the Liverpool club in controversial fashion, was substituted by Sarri to a chorus of boos.

“To be honest, I didn’t know those numbers before the match,” said Everton manager Marco Silva of his side’s long winless run against leading clubs in the Premier League.

“It’s not a normal thing for a club like us, not winning so many times against strong sides.

“But for our quality as a club how big we are as a club, it’s something that can’t happen again. It’s up to us to work together for it to be more normal for us to beat these strong sides.”

AFP

‘Maybe It’s My Fault’: Sarri Fumes After Chelsea Meltdown

File: Chelsea Italian Coach, Maurizio Sarri gestures from the touchline.

 

Maurizio Sarri questioned his ability to motivate Chelsea’s spluttering stars after their humiliating 4-0 defeat at Bournemouth on Wednesday.

The shocking result at Dean Court ranked as Chelsea’s biggest league defeat for 22 years and was their fifth loss in the last 12 Premier League games.

The Blues have dropped out of the top four — below Arsenal on goals scored — to leave their bid to qualify for the Champions League under severe threat.

And Chelsea boss Sarri, who publicly questioned his side’s approach after the recent defeat at Arsenal, conducted a lengthy post-match inquest alone with his players after asking his backroom staff to leave the dressing room.

The Italian maintained he does not feel under pressure but admitted the blame for the defeat could lie with himself.

READ ALSO: Juventus Dumped Out Of Coppa Italia By Atlanta

“In that moment I wanted to talk with them alone, without anybody else,” he said.

“I needed to understand. It’s impossible to play in such a different way between the first and second half.

“I don’t understand why. I don’t know exactly. I want to try again tomorrow because we want to solve the problem.

“I think (the players are good enough). Maybe we are not at the top of the Premier League at the moment, but we are competitive.

“We cannot lose 4-0 against Bournemouth. I want to respect Bournemouth, but it’s impossible to lose 4-0 here.

“Maybe it’s my fault, maybe I’m not able to motivate them. But the team is very strong, it is also able to win without the coach.”

Sarri is facing growing questions about his tactics and motivational ability just half-way through his first season in charge.

And the former Napoli boss admitted he is starting to get annoyed by Chelsea’s inconsistency.

“I feel frustrated. Not under pressure. I didn’t see the signal of my work. So I am frustrated,” he said.

Chelsea dominated long periods of the first half but after conceding Joshua King’s opening goal in the 47th minute, they had no response as David Brooks doubled the lead in the 63rd minute.

‘Ride that storm’

King added a second eleven minutes later, and Charlie Daniels headed the fourth in stoppage-time.

“What I saw in the first half, there was the possibility to solve the problem,” Sarri said.

“We had 43 minutes still to play, so we could solve the problem. But not with that kind of reaction.

“At the moment, they are able to react very well always against a big team. When we play against a big team, usually we are able to play with a very good level of motivation.

“In the first half, I saw a team with a very good level of motivation and determination. Then, suddenly after the first goal, we were not able to play.”

The withdrawal of Gonzalo Higuain in the 64th minute prompted chants of ‘you don’t know what you’re doing’ from the Chelsea supporters.

Sarri said: “We have only to say sorry to our fans. We can lose, of course, in every match, but not in this way.

“We need to solve the problem. We need to understand where the problem is.”

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe revealed his side’s game-plan was to put pressure on Jorginho, Chelsea’s deep-lying midfielder.

“It was something we looked at and planned and David did a brilliant job beyond his years with his diligence, and then he showed his class at the other end as well, so I’m pleased for him,” Howe said.

“We just knew they’d have more of the ball than we would. They’ve got world-class players, technically.

“The way their manager plays the game is great to watch. We had to ride that storm, really.

“The way we dealt with Hazard, Pedro, Higuain, getting bodies around the ball, tracking runners. We just managed to frustrate them.”

 

AFP

Sarri Hopes League Cup Final Spot Will Be ‘Turning Point’

Chelsea’s Italian head coach Maurizio Sarri gestures on the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Cheslea at the Emirates Stadium in London. AFP

 

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri hopes victory on penalties over Tottenham to reach the League Cup final can prove a turning point in his first season in charge. 

Sarri had questioned the mental strength of his squad and demanded star forward Eden Hazard delivered more on his abundant potential in the wake of a 2-0 defeat to Arsenal on Saturday, and the Italian got the response he desired against an injury-ravaged Spurs.

First-half goals from N’Golo Kante and Hazard handed Chelsea a 2-1 win on the night to overturn a 1-0 first leg deficit and the hosts prevailed 4-2 in the shootout at Stamford Bridge to set up a final meeting with holders Manchester City on February 24th.

“I think that in the last three or four matches we had a problem. One problem was the motivation and the other problem was the players stopped having fun on the pitch. Now with the performance and the result we can find enthusiasm again,” said Sarri.

Chelsea’s new number nine Gonzalo Higuain was presented to the home fans before kick-off, but the Argentine’s loan move from Juventus was not completed in time for him to feature.

Sarri has been criticised for persisting with Hazard in a centre-forward position of late and the decision to move the Belgian back to his prefered role on the left of a front three with Olivier Giroud handed a rare start as the focal point of the attack paid dividends.

However, Sarri again preferred to focus on Chelsea’s mentality rather than his change of tactics.

“He played a fantastic, wonderful match,” added Sarri on Hazard’s performance. “I think in this match we played with another mind, another motivation, another determination. I think his qualities are more important than the position.”

However, Hazard was less enthused as he responded to Sarri’s claims before the game he is not a leader on the field.

“I don’t care. I just play my football,” Hazard told Sky Sports. “It doesn’t matter what the manager said. I just focus on my football and want to do my best for this team.”

Chelsea needed a slice of good fortune to open the scoring when Kante’s shot from the edge of the area went through Eric Dier and Moussa Sissoko’s legs to leave Paulo Gazzaniga unsighted and the ball also nutmegged the Argentine goalkeeper.

However, there was no luck about Chelsea’s second as Hazard rounded off a brilliant team move involving Ross Barkley, Pedro Rodriguez and Cesar Azpilicueta.

Another chance for Spurs to win the first trophy under Mauricio Pochettino has now gone.

Yet, Spurs’ spirit could not be questioned this time as they battled to stay in the tie for 90 minutes despite the absence of Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Son Heung-min, while Ben Davies and Sissoko limped off to add to their growing list of injuries.

Tottenham have defied the odds all season to remain fighting on four fronts and they did so again to get back into the tie five minutes into the second half when Fernando Llorente stooped to met Danny Rose’s cross to level at 2-2 on aggregate.

“To lose in that way can happen. But we fought, were brave and with all the circumstances, all the players did well,” said Pochettino.

“I can only feel proud with all the circumstances to arrive at penalties. I can only congratulate my players, we are ready to compete in this type of level.”

Pochettino fell to his knees in exasperation as Llorente miscued Christan Eriksen’s inviting cross wide as the game sprang from end-to-end in the final quarter.

Giroud then had a huge opportunity to kickstart his faltering Chelsea career when picked out by Emerson’s cross deep into stoppage time, but the French striker headed wide to send the game to penalties.

Chelsea were more ruthless from the spot as Dier, who scored the winning penalty in England’s first ever World Cup shootout win in July, blazed over and Kepa Arrizabalaga saved from Lucas Moura, while Willian, Cesar Azpilicueta, Jorginho and David Luiz found the net.

AFP

Chelsea Boss Sarri Demands More From Hazard

Chelsea’s Belgian midfielder Eden Hazard arrives with his teammates ahead of the English Premier League football match between Crystal Palace and Chelsea in south London. Ian KINGTON / AFP

 

Eden Hazard must deliver more to realise his full potential and help dig Chelsea out of a slump in form, manager Maurizio Sarri said on Wednesday.

Sarri heavily criticised his side’s mental strength after they slipped to a 2-0 Premier League defeat at Arsenal on Saturday, labelling his players “difficult to motivate”.

However, Sarri’s tactics are also under the spotlight as he has persisted with playing Hazard in an unfamiliar centre-forward position over the past month.

Chelsea look set to remedy their striker problem with the imminent arrival of Gonzalo Higuain on loan, who scored 38 goals in one season under Sarri at Napoli in 2015/16.

That should see Hazard return to his favoured role on the left side of a front three, and Sarri wants more from the man voted the second best player at last year’s World Cup.

“In this moment, he’s more an individual player than a leader,” said Sarri on Wednesday.

“He is very important for us, of course, because he is a great player. He always can win the match in two minutes. Sometimes in one minute. But, at the moment, he’s not a leader.”

Hazard’s future is also a source of fevered speculation, with the player refusing to extend his current Chelsea deal, which expires in 2020.

In an interview with France Football, this week Hazard again raised the possibility he could move to Real Madrid and admitted he has frustrated all of his previous coaches.

“I think he said that coaches told him that he needs to do more,” added Sarri. “I think he has to do more. Because the potential is higher than the performances. He has to respect first of all himself. He has to do more.”

And Sarri also acknowledged that Hazard’s desire to get on the ball as much as possible has restricted his impact when playing in a central role.

“Eden is at the moment a wonderful player, but an individual player. He is an instinctive player so for him, it is difficult to play in only one position.

“He likes very much to go to the ball so for him, I think it is very difficult to play as a striker.”

Sarri’s public reaction to the defeat at Arsenal has raised questions over his future at Stamford Bridge just six months into his reign in charge.

Chelsea, who are fourth in the Premier League, host Tottenham in the second leg of their League Cup semi-final on Thursday, trailing 1-0 from the first leg.

AFP

Chelsea Players Support Sarri’s Philosophy, Says Luiz

Chelsea Exceed £400m Revenue, Declare £62m Profit
Chelsea players celebrate after Chelsea’s French midfielder N’Golo Kante scores the opening goal of the English Premier League football match between Crystal Palace and Chelsea at Selhurst Park in south London on December 30, 2018. Ben STANSALL / AFP

 

Maurizio Sarri has the full support of the Chelsea players who have signed up to his philosophy says David Luiz despite the manager blasting them in the wake of Saturday’s 2-0 defeat to Arsenal.

Luiz, who has become a pivotal figure in Sarri’s team after being sidelined last season by Antonio Conte, said it is remarkable how quickly Sarri has been successful in implementing his playing philosophy at the club.

While that was successful initially, Chelsea’s form has slumped of late with just two wins in their last five matches in all competitions, failing to score in three of those.

Arsenal and a resurgent Manchester United are just three points off Chelsea, who occupy the fourth and last Champions League spot.

Sarri is trying to rectify the scoring problem by offloading misfiring Spaniard Alvaro Morata and signing veteran Argentine Gonzalo Higuain who flourished under him at Napoli.

Luiz said the manager “was not happy” after the match “but nobody was happy, so it was normal.”

However, the 31-year-old Brazil international defender said the players were all behind Sarri.

“Everybody is trusting his job and everybody is with him,” said Luiz.

However, he said pointedly there was nothing wrong with the strategy and that they just need to be sharper in front of goal.

“It is our style, it is our philosophy,” said Luiz.

“I think if you asked at the beginning of the season, ‘can Chelsea keep the ball?’ — you would have said no.

“And now we are able to do that, like the best teams in the world, but then we have (to) improve our last 25 metres.”

Sarri has changed things around from Conte’s time at the club.

Italy international Jorginho — whom he signed from Napoli — has been deployed in the central midfield role which has resulted in N’Golo Kante being moved to an unfamiliar wider role.

However, the biggest bone of contention has been the Italian’s decision to use Belgian playmaker Eden Hazard as a “false nine” which has apparently not been to the player’s liking.

Luiz, though, is full of praise for Sarri.

“What Sarri has done until now is unbelievable, amazing, because normally (for) a team to understand this philosophy needs one or two years, like Manchester City and Liverpool, who are playing very well with the ball now,” said Luiz.

“What he has done has been amazing, so we have to try to improve the details now.”

AFP

Sarri Says He Is Focused On Pitch As Higuain Deal Drags Out

Chelsea’s Italian head coach Maurizio Sarri gestures on the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Newcastle United at Stamford Bridge in London on January 12, 2019. Adrian DENNIS / AFP

 

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri will not be able to call on Gonzalo Higuain for Saturday’s visit to Arsenal but said his focus was already on the game and not moves in the transfer market.

Higuain is expected to complete a loan move from Juventus, but no deal was announced before the midday deadline on Friday for the Argentine striker to be registered if he were to feature at the Emirates.

Sarri previously coached Higuain at Napoli when he scored a Serie A record 36 goals in a league campaign in 2015/16.

That sort of firepower is what Chelsea have been badly missing in recent months, with Sarri’s lack of confidence in Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud forcing Eden Hazard into an unfamiliar centre-forward role.

Sarri said he had made the club’s director and chief transfer negotiator Marina Granovskaia aware of what his side needed.

“I spoke with Marina two weeks ago, so Marina knows very well my opinion how to improve the team,” said Sarri.

“Then I decide to be focused on the pitch, on matches, on training.

“I don’t call her every evening, otherwise I spend all my mental energy on the market and I think it’s better if I spend all my mental energies on the pitch.”

AFP

Sarri Wants Hazard Saga Resolved

Chelsea’s Belgian midfielder Eden Hazard arrives with his teammates ahead of the English Premier League football match between Crystal Palace and Chelsea at Selhurst Park in south London on October 14, 2017 Ian KINGTON / AFP

 

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri says the time has come for star playmaker Eden Hazard to make up his mind as to whether he will sign a new contract.

The 27-year-old Belgian — who has been at Chelsea since 2012 — is a target for Spain’s European champions Real Madrid but said on Thursday he wanted to put off any decision on his future till the end of the season.

Chelsea, though, have offered Hazard — who reached a landmark century of goals for the club with a brace in the 2-1 win over Watford on Wednesday — a new contract reported to be worth well over £300,000 ($380,000) a week.

Sarri, though, said at his press conference on Friday he wants everything cleared up as soon as possible.

“I don’t know but I think that it’s time to decide,” said Sarri when asked if he thought Hazard would stay with the club.

“I think that we have to solve the problem. If he wants to program the future, we have to solve this problem.”

Sarri, whose side are fourth in the table 11 points off leaders Liverpool ahead of this weekend’s games, said he was powerless to intervene given the power structure inside the club.

“I am not the president, I am not in charge of the market, I am the coach,” said the 59-year-old Italian.

“I want to speak to him only about the position on the pitch.”

Sarri, who will be without Spanish forward Pedro for the away match at Crystal Palace due to a hamstring injury, is also keen to keep Hazard playing as a ‘false nine’ in the absence of the injured Alvaro Morata.

Hazard has said he prefers to play on the wing but Sarri said the impact the Belgian has made since he switched him supports his decision.

“I cannot see the problem of Hazard in this role,” said Sarri.

“He played four matches as false number nine, and he scored three goals and two assists. So I am not able to see the problem.

“I am really very happy with him in this position because he’s very able to score, first of all, but he’s very able to open spaces for the team-mates, to come and play with the team-mates.

“So at the moment I am very happy with him in this position, but in the future, he can also play as a winger of course.”

AFP

Allegri Beats Sarri To Italy’s Coach Of The Year Award

Juventus’ Italian coach Massimiliano Allegri shouts instructions during the Italian Serie A football match AC Milan vs Juventus on November 11, 2018 at the San Siro stadium in Milan.
Marco BERTORELLO / AFP

 

Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri was on Monday presented with the Panchina d’Oro (Golden Bench) award for the best coach in Serie A in 2017/2018 season.

The 51-year-old beat Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri, who coached Napoli to second last season, and Lazio’s Simone Inzaghi, following a vote by his fellow coaches.

Allegri received 17 votes with Sarri and Inzaghi both getting eight.

Allegri also won the award last season too while Sarri was named as the best Serie A manager for the 2016/17 campaign.

“I thank everyone but above all the team and the players, they are the ones who go on the pitch and win the games,” said Allegri.

“The goal is to try to win the eighth championship title in a row and this blessed Champions League, let’s see if we have a bit of luck on our side.”

It is the fourth time he has won the award, having also won with Juventus in 2015 and 2017, and Cagliari in 2009.

AFP