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Maurizio Sarri: Chelsea not yet Premier League contenders

19 August, 2018, 06:42 | Author: Heidi Alvarez
  • Nabil Fekir of France and Tyler Adams of USA during the friendly football match between France and USA at the at the Parc Olympique lyonnais stadium in Decines-Charpieu near Lyon

I know we need to push the players to work. So I think we have to work and we need to improve. We have to improve in the defensive phase, and I'm not talking about only the defenders.

Asked whether Chelsea had enough quality at present to fight for the title, Sarri said: 'No, not in this moment.

"It's great play from Morata there but the defending's bad".

The 24-year-old was determined to leave Real in search of regular game time. It is only two games.

Sarri's arrival, following Conte's exit, is simply more of the same. But these two teams will not be anywhere near winning the league on this showing.

Unai Emery is the first Arsenal manager to lose his first two games since Thomas Mitchell in 1897.

Arsenal impressed in spurts during the enthralling 3-2 defeat at Stamford Bridge but a combination of missed chances and a shoddy defence meant they came away empty handed as their wretched top-flight away record continued. "For 15 minutes of the first half it was awful", Sarri admitted.

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"We have to improve", he said.

"If we want to defend by looking only at the ball we need to stay very compact and press in the other half". But, at the other moments, when we are not able to press in the other half, we are in trouble.

"I expect a lot from him because, for me, he's a very great player".

Eden Hazard started on the bench for Chelsea again on Saturday, but came on in the second half with devastating impact.

Emery had quality on the Arsenal bench, but not of the same standard to that enjoyed by Chelsea, and he has none of the defensive quality that Sarri possesses.

And he praised Eden Hazard, who replaced Willian on 60 minutes and set up Marcos Alonso's victor, saying that when he returned the team would be have a different creative threat.

His team are already off the pace, though, and that will be a worry for him as the season begins to kick into gear.

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