Maurizio Sarri was presented as Juventus manager on Thursday morning, and could not help but share the ultimate problem he faced having Eden Hazard in his Chelsea set up last season at a packed out press conference.
The 60-year-old, who lasted just a season at Stamford Bridge, winning the Europa League and securing a third-place Premier League finish in the Premier League was never able to win over the Chelsea faithful who were constantly angered by his strategies and game management philosophies.
Following an agreement to terminate his contract with the Blues at the end of the season, Sarri was announced as Juventus coach on Sunday; his first meet with the media and fans of the Old Lady however saw the Italian taking a swipe at the defensive output of Belgium skipper, Eden Hazard- who has also left the London club to join Real Madrid.
‘In recent years, I’ve had 4-3-3, but the 4-3-3 at Chelsea was very different to the one at Napoli. We had to accompany Eden Hazard’s characteristics, as he could change the game, but also his presence caused issues in defending that we had to work on,’ he stated.
The former Napoli boss also highlighted his delight with the opportunity to coach five time Balon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo, who he believes is head and shoulders above the bunch he had to work with at Chelsea, before explaining his decision to leave the Premier League.
Sarri said: ‘At Chelsea I coached some very strong players, but training Cristiano will be yet another step forward.
‘He had made many records. I’d like to help him break some new records.’
‘The feeling when Juve called me? Strong’, he said. ‘I’ve never seen a club so determined to get a coach before.
‘The Premier League was a great experience, but in the latter half (of the season), I felt professional and personal needs to return to Italy.’
Sarri again detailed how the ‘characteristics of the players’ on his roster at Chelsea had prompted a change in style from what he was popular for at Napoli.
‘What changes are the characteristics of the players; Napoli had team players, who were totally at the disposal of the team and moved the ball at a decisively quicker pace.
‘Chelsea are made up of probably technically superior players, but with different individual characteristics.
‘They have wingers who want the ball at their feet and like to go one-on-one. It leads to a less fluid style of football, because Napoli had 11 who could play one-touch football, Chelsea had seven or eight who could do that and the others were individuals who could make the difference going by themselves.
‘At Juventus we hope to win by entertaining. I have to understand how much I implement my philosophy and how much I leave to the characteristics of the players. I organize my teams for 70 metres and then the final 30 I leave to them. Each team is different.’
‘I expect to get up in the morning and study how to win games. You have to have clear ideas on 2 or 3 players who can make a real difference for the team and then give them an environment to truly express themselves. Then the formation is dictated by that.
‘It’s going to be an exciting year in Serie A especially for the coaches. There’s a long way to go but hopefully the league can start to close the gap with the Premier League.’
The manager also spoke about his famed ‘Sarriball’ style: ‘I don’t know what ‘Sarrismo’ is. I have always been someone who changes based on experiences but remaining faithful to the concepts. I am a direct person, perhaps too much and this leads to clashes but they are resolvable.’
‘In the last few years I always started the season with one formation and then ended it with another.’
‘Allegri leaves a heavy legacy. Winning what he won is very difficult, he achieved extraordinary results and I would like to see in the team the same ability to get past the difficulties that he was able to help them do so.’