Chelsea fans in Joyous mood after Maurizio Sarri confirmed the news they have been waiting for - ROUND GIST

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Friday, 8 March 2019

Chelsea fans in Joyous mood after Maurizio Sarri confirmed the news they have been waiting for

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has confirmed he is already making plans ahead of next season and that will surely delight the club’s fans who were worried. Speaking ahead of Chelsea’s UEFA Europa League last-16 first-leg tie against Dynamo Kiev on Thursday, per ESPN FC’s Liam Twomey, Sarri said: “We were talking about the problem of the next pre-season. So we were trying to organise in the best way the next pre-season.”

Sarri went on to express his confidence about his future in west London beyond this campaign: “It’s not important if I’m here next season. At this moment, it’s important only the results. In this moment, only the Europa League is important. In this moment, the Dynamo Kiev (match) is everything.” “I am confident otherwise I won’t be able to do my work. I have to think this (that I will be here next season) if I want to do my job in the best way.”

This isn’t the first time Sarri has said he’s at ease about his Chelsea future. He recently said the pressure was much higher in Serie C than at Stamford Bridge, per Tom Hopkinson of the Sunday Mirror. Despite Sarri’s confidence, rumours persist he will be working elsewhere next season. Italian outlet Il Giornale (h/t Calciomercato) has reported AS Roma want to appoint the former Napoli chief.

Things may be different, though, after Twomey noted how talks between Sarri and director Marina Granovskaia took place either side of Chelsea losing the Carabao Cup final after a penalty shootout against Manchester City in February. Ironically, that defeat can be seen as the moment when Sarri started to repair his credibility in the Blues’ dugout. The Italian had been criticised for sticking rigidly to one idea of football, a tactic leading to shifting key players, such as holding midfielder N’Golo Kante, out of position.

However, Sarri tweaked his tactics brilliantly to frustrate usually free-flowing City. He moved Kante back into the middle to support ball-playing midfield fulcrum Jorginho, and Sarri also willingly ceded possession to try to hit the Citizens on the break. More than his tactical approach, the 60-year-old scored points for his handling of the Kepa Arrizabalaga affair. The incident occurred when the Chelsea goalkeeper refused to be substituted late in extra time.

While enraged at the time, Sarri later played down the incident as a “misunderstanding.” Even after Arrizabalaga, the most expensive player on the planet at his position, was fined and dropped for one game, Sarri refused to rule out a return for his No. 1. Bringing the 24-year-old quickly in from the cold proved a masterstroke, as Arrizabalaga produced a superb display during Sunday’s 2-1 derby win away to Fulham in the Premier League.

Beating the Cottagers followed another derby win, a 2-0 triumph over Tottenham Hotspur at the Bridge. Those results have boosted Chelsea’s chances of finishing in the top four and returning to the UEFA Champions League.

The Blues are just two points adrift of Manchester United and one behind Arsenal, having played a game fewer than both of their rivals. Achieving Champions League qualification, either by finishing fourth or winning the Europa League, would surely keep Sarri in the job. Recent performances and results have proved the players still back him and his methods. If he’s already planning for next season, his strategy must include ways to get the balance in midfield right, particularly the support for hub-of-possession Jorginho.

Solidifying his options at striker will also be key, with Sarri relying on Juventus loanee Gonzalo Higuain. Chelsea have an option to buy the 31-year-old, who once scored 36 Serie A goals while playing for Sarri in Naples. Higuain has been taking his time to adapt to the Premier League, although there have been signs he finding his form again under Sarri, like scoring the first goal against Fulham.

Chelsea would be wise to stick with Sarri beyond this campaign. The Italian has specific ideas, but ones which can change how the Blues play for the better, provided he is given time to properly implement them.

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