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David Luiz impressed with Maurizio Sarri’s philosophy at Chelsea

Chelsea defender David Luiz has said that he has been impressed with Maurizio Sarri’s philosophy during the course of the current campaign. The Blues have endured a mixed season by their standards in the Premier League but they are still on course to make the top four, provided they win their remaining two games of the season.

Speaking to Metro, Luiz said that he has been amazed with the tactical nous of Sarri, who has opted to play more possession of the ball. He added that some of the Blues players are still adapting to the new brand of football and it may take a bit longer before the club are completing in sync with the manager’s demands.

He said: “It’s a philosophy to have a lot of possession, create a lot of opportunities and he has tried to introduce that to us. I think he has already done amazing as in the past people were saying Chelsea don’t control the game, Chelsea don’t play with a lot of the ball, Chelsea just plays counter-attacks’ everyone was criticising Chelsea. Now we control the games and sometimes they criticise us because we don’t win the game with a lot of possession. I think his philosophy is amazing, it’s trying to play football. This takes time and we are trying to improve as soon as possible.”

Chelsea have been in-and-out of the Champions League places over the course of the season but they are currently placed fourth on the table. Nonetheless, they are just two points ahead of fifth-placed Arsenal and they need to secure victories during their final two matches against Watford and Leicester City to ensure qualification to the Champions League next term.

The west London giants can attain the same by winning the Europa League title, but that remains far off at the moment, considering they first need to overcome Eintracht Frankfurt at the last four of the competition. If they are successful, they could face either Valencia or Arsenal during the final in Baku.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek says Chelsea can’t dwell over Liverpool defeat

Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek has said that the club cannot dwell on the recent Premier League defeat to Liverpool and must concentrate on the games ahead. The west London side suffered a 2-0 loss at the hands of the Reds at the weekend and this has somewhat hampered their prospects of making the top four of the Premier League.

Speaking after the game, Loftus-Cheek admitted that the defeat has been a tough one on the squad, who have been on a winning run since the international break. He added that the Blues must negate any negativity and concentrate on the positives for the rest of the season, he said: “It’s a really tough result to take. When you have a game like this — and with the negative press — it’s a skill to be able to deal with it and move on very quickly and take the positives out of it. I think that’s what we have to do as a team and as individuals, to keep a positive mind-frame. We can’t dwell on this, we’ve got games coming that are really important. So we have to move on.”

Despite the defeat, Chelsea are occupying the fourth position on the table but they could be leapfrogged by Arsenal before the end of the gameweek. The Gunners have two games in hand when compared to the Blues and they can recover the three-point deficit when they face Watford on the road on Monday night.

Elsewhere, the Blues are regarded as favourites to win the Europa League and they are scheduled to host Sparta Praha during the second leg on the quarter-final on Thursday night. The west London side secured a slender 1-0 advantage from the opening leg on the road and they remain the front-runners to progress, barring a shocking performance at the Bridge.

Frank Lampard and Nuno on the Chelsea Shortlist to Replace Sarri

Chelsea boffins are already thinking about the next season and there is a strong likelihood that Maurizio Sarri may not be in charge of the team for the 2019-20 campaign. After a disappointing set of results throughout the campaign, Chelsea find themselves once again in a top four race and not in the title race. Sarri may have started out extremely well but he has been hit by a number of critics in the last few months. The Italian’s stubbornness to stick with the same starting lineup and tactics have been a major disappointment in a division where managers are tactically astute.

The Blues had a strong look at Zinedine Zidane and the likelihood of signing the Frenchman as the next Chelsea manager. This would have been a great move for the club, who are fighting to keep Eden Hazard from the sight of Real Madrid. However,Zidane’s decision to join Real Madrid is a major blow for the team. Now, Chelsea are looking at two major candidates who can potentially lead the club back to successful days – Frank Lampard and Nuno Espiritu Santo. The former is a fan’s favourite and will command a huge deal of respect, while the latter has been able to make a strong impression in the Premier league with Wolves.

Both managers lack a significant amount of experience at the top level. Lampard has just begun his managerial career with Derby County, while Nuno is experiencing a taste in the Premier League only for the first time. Sarri appears to have fallen out with most of the players with striker Olivier Giroud claiming that the favouritism in the squad is starting to affect him. Chelsea are no stranger to changing managers, but it remains to be seen if Roman Abramovich will sanction a move for two inexperienced managers.

BBC pundit praises Chelsea star for his ‘touch of class’ performance

BBC pundit Garth Crooks has praised the performance of midfielder Jorginho in the aftermath of Chelsea’s 2-1 win over Fulham on Sunday. The Blues managed to secure a second-straight league win during the recent London derby at Craven Cottage and Jorginho managed to earn the plaudits after scoring the winning goal for the team.

In a report covered by BBC Sport, Crooks was impressed by the performance of the Italy international, who has struggled for form during the course of the campaign, he quipped: “I think Jorginho has struggled since his arrival at Stamford Bridge. Against Fulham, however, he suddenly looked like he was beginning to find some form.

“His goal was a touch of class in a Chelsea performance that looked competent without being outstanding. Maurizio Sarri may have managed to get through some difficult weeks but there is still much to do. He is a ditherer, he has an errant goalkeeper and a weak captain. Apart from that they are not doing badly.”

Jorginho has been one of the Premier League most-consistent players in terms of the passing but that has not been converted in the form of goals or assists. Despite this, the former Verona man produced an effective performance against Fulham and the long-range goal should give him the confidence heading into the final stages of the campaign.

With the win over Fulham, Chelsea have closed the gap to fourth-placed Manchester United to just two points with an extra game in hand. Next up, they are scheduled to host Dynamo Kiev in the first leg of the Europa League round of 16 on Thursday night. Thereafter, the Blues have another home game against Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League. Sarri’s team will be keen to take revenge on the Wolves after the 2-1 defeat at the Molineux.

Ex-Chelsea manager unimpressed with Maurizio Sarri’s summer signing

Former Chelsea manager Ruud Gullit has said that Maurizio Sarri has made a mistake with the signing of Jorginho during last summer’s transfer window. The Italy international was reunited with Sarri during the summer following their stint together at Napoli but the move has not worked out with the midfielder lacking the positional awareness on numerous occasions.

Speaking to BeIN Sports, Gullit has been far from impressed with the performances of Jorginho and has suggested that Sarri made a mistake, given he already had N’GoloKante, who had excelled in the holding midfield role over the past few years. He added that the Blues have also been found out at the back and this has equally contributed to the downtrend in league form since the turn of the year.

“I think the first mistake he made was Jorginho, to bring him in. You had already the best holding midfielder, Kante – world champion. Now he wants to play them both. Kante’s not scoring goals for you. So he has a huge problem in midfield and he has a huge problem at the back as well,” he said following the Blues’ FA Cup exit.

Chelsea were fancied to come up with a good performance against Manchester United during the FA Cup fifth round, given they had recently received a boost with both Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard on the treatment room. Despite this, they struggled to outsmart the Red Devils in front of their supporters and they eventually suffered a 2-0 defeat with Ander Herrera and Paul Pogba on the scoresheet.

With that, they won’t be able to defend their FA Cup crown but they still have the chance to secure silverware with a League Cup final against Manchester City this weekend. They are certain to start on the backfoot after the 6-0 league hammering at the Etihad earlier this month and it remains to be seen whether they can contain the Citizens’ attack to register what can be deemed a shock triumph.

Chelsea manager defends Gonzalo Higuain after unimpressive start

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has leaped into the defence of Gonzalo Higuain amid his struggles during the opening two matches for the club. The Argentine joined the Blues on a temporary deal from Juventus during the backend of the January transfer window and he has since started against Sheffield Wednesday and Bournemouth without any success.

As such, a section of the Blues faithful have already questioned the signing of the Argentine but Sarri, who has previously managed the striker at Napoli, has urged for patience with the marksman, he said: “He is still not at top fitness and it shows, coming back from injury last month and the market meant he did not train well. He has to find his best condition.”

The Blues have had a genuine weakness in the striking department this term with neither Alvaro Morata nor Olivier Giroud sufficiently impressing during the first half of the campaign. Due to this, the west London giants were recommended by Sarri personally to recruit Higuain but so far, the move has not borne fruit with the 31-year-old yet to adjust to the demands of English football.

Still, the Italian tactician remains confident that the striker can find his scoring boots and he has the perfect chance to do when a struggling Huddersfield Town make the west London trip this weekend. The Terriers are winless since beating Wolverhampton Wanderers during the month of November and they are widely fancied to succumb another defeat with the Blues expected to provide a strong response after the midweek embarrassment at Bournemouth.

The Capital outfit suffered a shock and unexpected 4-0 loss at the Vitality Stadium on Wednesday night and the outcome has dropped them from the fourth position on the table on the goals scored to Arsenal. The margin of defeat was the Blues’ worst of the Premier League era.

Chelsea confirm signing of Christian Pulisic from Borussia Dortmund

Chelsea have confirmed their first signing of the winter transfer window with Christian Pulisic arriving from Borussia Dortmund for a reported fee of £58m. The United States international has, however, rejoined the Bundesliga club on a temporary basis for the season before reporting for pre-season duty with the Blues next summer.

Pulisic’s future had been a regular discussion topic over the past few months with Chelsea and Liverpool among those linked with his signature. However, it is the former, who have managed to prise him away from the Bundesliga leaders and Pulisic has revealed his privilege after signing for the west London giants.

“In summer of 2019, I move on to Chelsea and a new competition, the English Premier League. It’s a privilege to have signed for such a legendary club and I look forward to working hard towards being a contributor to their team of world class players. Looking forward to working with Maurizio Sarri and his technical team,” the 20-year-old told the club’s official website.

Chelsea have been hampered with injuries to Pedro and Olivier Giroud over the past few games and based on that, the manager would have preferred having Pulisic on board for the second half of the campaign. However, Dortmund were seemingly reluctant to part ways with the attacker at the midway stage and the proposal of loaning him back has helped the Blues secure the transfer agreement nonetheless.

The Blues are currently just two points ahead of Arsenal for the final Champions League qualification spot but they could extend the gap further with the additional game on hand against Southampton on Wednesday night. The west London side have been largely dependent on Eden Hazard to produce the goods of late but the Belgian may need additional help from others, if the Blues are to eventually finish in the top four this season.

Valencia manager admits Michy Batshuayi could return to Chelsea early

Valencia head coach Marcelino has admitted that Michy Batshuayi could return to Chelsea at the turn of the year after a rather unsuccessful loan spell with the Spanish club this term. The Belgium international was loaned out by the Blues during the summer transfer window after new manager Maurizio Sarri preferred to stick with Olivier Giroud and Alvaro Morata as the preferred options upfront.

However, the move has not proved beneficial for Batshuayi, who has managed just four starts from his 17 appearances for Valencia and Marcelino has now acknowledged that the Blues could recall him during the winter transfer window, he said: “At the right time will analyse the final situation and we will decide [what to do with Batshuayi]. There is a transfer [clause], I do not know what the situation is contractually, but for all parties who want to leave, we will look for what is best for Valencia and thus the appropriate decisions will be made.”

Batshuayi joined the Blues from Marseille during the summer of 2016 with the view to competing for the striker’s position alongside Diego Costa. However, the marksman struggled to find success during his maiden season with the club and the same has remained the case thereafter despite the unceremonious departure of Costa from the west London giants.

At present, Morata and Giroud remain the go-to men when it comes to the centre-forward duties but there has been the speculation that Sarri may prefer recruiting another top-class marksman when the transfer window reopens. As such, Batshuayi’s future with the Blues appears bleak regardless of the potential recall and he may have to pursue another temporary challenge elsewhere to enhance his prospects of regular gametime during the second half of the season. Chelsea are currently third in the Premier League table with 34 points after the opening 16 matches.

Mateo Kovacic not contemplating about his future beyond Chelsea

Croatia international Mateo Kovacic has indicated that he is not contemplating about his club future beyond the current campaign. The midfielder made the season-long loan to Chelsea from Real Madrid during the previous transfer window and he has since been a regular feature under Maurizio Sarri with 15 appearances across all competitions.

Speaking in press conference, Kovacic highlighted that he is pleased to have made the move to Stamford Bridge during the summer and he is enjoying the proceedings under the tutelage of Maurizio Sarri. He added that he is not thinking what will happen beyond the current campaign where he may have to return to the Bernabeu.
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Chelsea boss refuses to guarantee regular gametime for Loftus-Cheek

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri does not believe he can guarantee regular gametime for Ruben Loftus-Cheek despite his stunning performance against BATE Borisov in the Europa League. Loftus-Cheek has barely featured for the Blues since the start of the current campaign but he managed to excel during the midweek European game against BATE where he came up with his maiden hat-trick in a comfortable 3-1 win.

Speaking in a press conference, Sarri acknowledged that Loftus-Cheek has managed to adapt to his style of play but that may not assure him of regular gametime, he said: “We have four midfielders and three of them have the same characteristics. They are offensive midfielders, only one has other characteristics – [N’Golo] Kante is a defensive midfielder. So it is very difficult to put in the starting XI two midfielders with the same characteristics. We have a tactical problem with the midfielders. At the beginning of the season he [Loftus-Cheek] was a very good player and now he is a good player that is more suited to my style of football.”
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