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Tuesday 11 December 2018

New boss Sarri vows to bring the fun back to the Bridge

Maurizio Sarri Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire.
Maurizio Sarri Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire.

Maurizio Sarri vowed to bring enjoyment back for Chelsea after being appointed Antonio Conte's successor as head coach.

The 59-year-old Sarri was confirmed as the London club's new boss on Saturday, 24 hours after Conte was sacked. The former Napoli coach hopes to win trophies with the Blues, but acknowledges the calibre of opposing managers in the Premier League makes that a challenge.

Sarri has given his first interview since joining Chelsea, speaking to official club app The 5th Stand.

"First of all I want to play my football, I want to enjoy myself. And probably I want also to win something," Sarri said. "With one or two adjustments we can try to play my football.

"It's impossible in my job to promise something, but I surely would give all my possessions to win something with Chelsea."

Chelsea finished fifth in the Premier League last season, 30 points adrift of Pep Guardiola's Manchester City, and behind Jose Mourinho's Manchester United, Mauricio Pochettino's Tottenham and Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool.

Axed

Conte was axed last Friday, 55 days after leading the Blues to the FA Cup and a year after signing an improved contract, but not an extension, following the 2016-17 Premier League title success in his first campaign in England.

There appeared to be little fun going on at Chelsea at times last season.

Sarri, speaking in English in a video interview, added: "Chelsea is one of the most important clubs in the most important championship in Europe.

"In the Premier League there are all the most important coaches in Europe, maybe in the world.

"It will be for me very exciting to play against Guardiola, Pochettino, Mourinho, Klopp and the others.

"I think Chelsea is a good team. The problem is that in England there are another five, six, very good teams."

Sarri, whose first game as boss is scheduled to be the July 23 friendly against Perth Glory in Western Australia, was asked about living in London.

He added: "I am here for football. I am here for Chelsea. I want to play at Stamford Bridge. For me it's a dream. London is a wonderful city, but I'm here for Chelsea."

He was also asked about Jorginho, the Italy midfielder who joined him in swapping Naples for the English capital.

Sarri added: "Jorginho is not a physical player. He's a technical player, but the most important quality is he's very quick in the mind. He has the ability to move the ball very quickly."

Earlier, Conte issued a statement through the League Managers' Association which was gracious and made no reference to any ill-feeling there may have been about his exit.

The former Juventus and Italy boss often hinted at grievances with the Chelsea hierarchy, particularly over transfer policy, and was discarded with a year remaining on his contract and despite overseeing the start of pre-season training for the 2018-19 campaign.

Conte thanked his players, staff and the Blues fans - and perhaps the omission of the Chelsea board and owner Roman Abramovich was deliberate and notable.

He added: "It was fantastic for me to be able to share my emotions, passion and enthusiasm throughout two unforgettable seasons with these amazing Chelsea supporters, who will always stay in my heart.

"I hope Chelsea will continue to be successful and I wish everyone well for next season."

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