When it was put to Sarri whether it was impossible for him to play the same team for the West Ham and Prague games, he replied: “I think so, also because we have to play after three days in Liverpool, so we’ll need to change.” Although he would be happy to take a pay cut
When it was put to Sarri whether it was impossible for him to play the same team for the West Ham and Prague games, he replied: “I think so, also because we have to play after three days in Liverpool, so we’ll need to change.”
Although he would be happy to take a pay cut if it meant Chelsea had greater control of their fixtures, Sarri would not ask the same for his players and conceded he and his players must accept their testing schedule.
“For the players, no (they shouldn’t be paid less), because the Premier League is the best championship in the world,” said Sarri. “So we need to have very strong players.
“The Premier League was able to sell in the best way possible the (television) rights, so in England we are lucky. We can buy the best players in the world, we have the best championship in the world, and so we have to accept we have to play every three days.”
Declan Rice joined Chelsea’s Academy as a seven-year old in 2006, but was released eight years later and joined West Ham. He has since become an England international with the Hammers and is a summer transfer target of Manchester United.
Ahead of the 20-year-old’s return to Stamford Bridge, Sarri admitted that he could do with a player like Rice in his squad while also confirming he would like to make Mateo Kovacic’s loan from Real Madrid permanent if Fifa would allow it.
“I think that Rice is a very good player, very good in the defensive phase because he’s really very able to recover the ball,” said Sarri. “He usually plays very close to the defensive line and, in the first match against West Ham, he was really a very big problem for us. I think he is improving in the offensive phase. He has improved during the season because I saw their last matches and I saw a very good midfielder.
“You know very well that, in that position, we have some problems because we have only Jorginho. In my opinion, Kovacic could become a very good central midfielder.
“Of course, he is not a defensive midfielder (at the moment) but, as you know, in that position I prefer a very technical player. In the last match, Jorginho touched 161 balls. So, for us, it’s very important for us to have big quality in that position. Big quality not for the last pass, but big quality in terms of moving the ball.”
Asked if he would want to try to sign a new midfielder to challenge Jorginho in the summer, Sarri said: “No, I want to try with Kovacic. He is only on loan, of course, but I’d like very much that Kovacic will stay with us.”