Sarri aware success doesn’t mean longevity

Maurizio Sarri knows even winning trophies is no guarantee of a lengthy stay at Chelsea.

Sarri aware success doesn’t mean longevity

By Matt McGeehan

Maurizio Sarri knows even winning trophies is no guarantee of a lengthy stay at Chelsea.

Like his immediate predecessors Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte, Sarri envisages a long-term future at Stamford Bridge.

“It depends on the club. (If) I want to stay here for 10 years, then I have to win,” the head coach said.

“Then it depends on the club. But I want to stay here for a long time.”

Whether the 59-year-old former Napoli boss outlasts Mourinho, Chelsea’s most successful manager, or Conte, sacked last month after two trophies in two seasons, remains to be seen.

Sarri has won plaudits, but not a trophy, in his managerial career, so may place more emphasis than most on winning tomorrow’s Community Shield with Manchester City.

“I think it’s very important to start with a trophy,” Sarri said. “It’s also important that the performance is a step forward. Clearly for me it’s very important to win something.”

Sarri wants to narrow the gap to City. Chelsea won the FA Cup in Conte’s final match in charge, after finishing fifth as City won the league title at a canter.

“In this moment it’s a very difficult match,” Sarri said.

“We can try to reduce the gap in the future with work. I think my job is to try to improve my players and so we will have to work for this target, to reduce the gap.”

The transfer window for Premier League clubs closes just a few days after the game.

Sarri added: “I talked with the club about the market but only one time, maybe two times. No more.

We spoke about positions, about characteristics, no names. So I don’t know. I think we need something. But maybe only a player.

Keeping Chelsea’s leading talents is Sarri’s priority.

Willian cut a forlorn figure at times under Conte and has been linked with Manchester United, Barcelona, and Real Madrid this summer. He reported late for Chelsea duty after the World Cup.

“There is not a Willian problem,” Sarri said.

“I spoke yesterday (Thursday) with him about his lateness, not about his future. It was a very positive conversation. I am happy about it.”

Thibaut Courtois is due to return to Chelsea training this weekend after helping Belgium finish third at the World Cup and being voted the best goalkeeper at Russia 2018.

The 26-year-old has a year to run on his current contract and has been continually linked with a move prior to the summer transfer window closing, with Real Madrid rumoured to be his most likely destination if he is sold.

“At the moment Courtois is the goalkeeper of the club, of Chelsea,” Sarri added.

“I don’t know in the future. It depends on the club. It depends especially on him, I think.

“But, I hope that Courtois will be our goalkeeper. It’s very important for us to keep the top players.”

The futures of Eden Hazard and N’Golo Kante have been the subject of speculation, too, with both set to return this weekend but not in time to feature against City.

For his part, Pep Guardiola is delighted by Gabriel Jesus’ contract extension at City and believes Douglas Luiz can become the next Brazilian to flourish at the champions should he get a work permit.

After running away with the league last season, City have the chance to start the campaign by adding more silverware to their collection tomorrow.

It is a match Guardiola’s side head into buoyed by the news that striker Jesus has extended his stay at the Etihad Stadium, the 21-year-old signing a new and improved deal until 2023.

“Gabriel has improved a lot since he came,” the City boss said. “His courage, his fight to put every effort for the team is incredible.

“I never met one striker who fights like he fights for the team.

“So, congratulations to him. Thank you so much to Gabriel for trusting us, to stay longer with us, and of course for the club to make this effort to keep him with us for the next years.

“He is so young and to find a striker with his qualities is complicated.”

Jesus is one of a number of players back in the City reckoning after the World Cup, with Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling the only squad members yet to return to the fold.

Summer signing Riyad Mahrez has been given the green light after an ankle complaint, but Guardiola is unable to call upon midfielder Luiz as he waits on a work permit.

The 20-year-old spent last season on loan at Girona after arriving from Vasco da Gama in a £10m deal and impressed during City’s pre-season tour in the United States.

“We would like (him) but he has no visa,” Guardiola said.

“No work permit, not yet, and we are going to try to convince the federation or the guys who decide the work permit to allow him to stay because I think he has potential to stay with us, play with us, improve with us.”

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