Maurizio Sarri issued his first plea for patience yesterday as the Chelsea manager said he needs time to lift the club to the level of Manchester City.
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has a tendency to sack managers who do not deliver instant success, but Sarri used Pep Guardiola’s first season in England as an example.
The Italian feels football would have been deprived of one of the world’s best teams if City had dismissed Guardiola after they finished third and won no trophies.
He now wants similar time to make his mark at Chelsea, who face unbeaten table-toppers City at Stamford Bridge today. ‘I don’t know,’ Sarri said when quizzed whether he will be given time.
‘You have to ask the club. I don’t know. What happens if Guardiola had no time in City? Maybe the best team in the world wasn’t City in the last year. It’s not my problem. My problem is to improve my players, to solve the situation, to solve problems, to try to gain a lot of points. Then there is the club that will decide what is better for them.
‘The Premier League is a fantastic championship, but it’s very difficult. Difficult because every match is difficult. Every match, if you are able to win, is very expensive from the mental and physical point of view.
‘You have to play every three days. You have no time to work or improve the team, so it’s really a very difficult situation.’
Sarri (right) and Guardiola met for dinner in June, a month before the Italian was confirmed as Chelsea’s manager.
Sarri revealed yesterday that his City counterpart had warned him his first Premier League season might not go according to plan.
‘You need a season just to understand the real situation here,’ Sarri continued. ‘He told me the first season in England is really very difficult. It’s impossible to improve 20 players in the first season.
‘He told me, in the first season, you have to work only on 14 players otherwise you are in trouble. You need too much time to improve all the squad.’
Guardiola spent around £200m in the summer of 2017 as City backed their boss to sign the players to turn them into champions.
They then produced a record-breaking 100-point season. Sarri is keen to sign a striker, but the 59-year-old insists Chelsea will not overhaul their squad or spend as freely as City.
‘You cannot think that you can buy 11 players without problems,’ Sarri said. ‘If you do, the problems will be the same. You have to create a new mentality and a new style of playing. We need to improve. We need to arrive at 95 per cent of our potential. And then we can get the last five per cent with a new player. With a new player, not 11 new players.’
Chelsea go into today’s match after a surprise loss to Wolves in midweek, when they took the lead through Ruben Loftus-Cheek, but were beaten 2-1.
Sarri called on his players not to suffer another ‘black-out’ and added: ‘Sooner or later, it’s normal to have some difficulties in a new way of playing. We have to work, we have to try to solve problem by problem, day by day. And to improve.’Daily Mail