Chelsea need another step to be Premier League contenders, says Sarri

By Sports Desk September 14, 2018

Maurizio Sarri believes challenging for the Premier League remains a step too far for Chelsea despite their 100 per cent record in the opening weeks of the 2018-19 season. 

Sarri arrived at Stamford Bridge in July and has hit the ground running, winning all four of their league matches prior to the international break.

Only Liverpool and Watford have matched Chelsea's impressive start, with champions Manchester City two points behind having drawn with Wolves last month.

But Sarri does not see his side battling for the title at the end of the season, instead thinking Liverpool and City will be the two teams vying for silverware.

"At the moment, I can only see City or Liverpool [winning it], at the moment," he told a media conference.

"We need another step to be at the same level. I think [it is too soon], but I hope not! 

"It is very difficult to recover 30 points in one season, very difficult. 

"We need to improve. My feeling is that we are not a very solid team in the defensive phase, we need to improve and we can, my feeling during the training is that this team can improve."

Chelsea could welcome Cesc Fabregas back to the matchday squad against Cardiff City on Saturday, the Spanish midfielder having missed the start of the campaign with a knee injury.

Fabregas is likely to only be fit for a place on the bench, though, and could replace Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who picked up an injury on international duty with England.

"The best news is Fabregas, he is very well, he was training with the team during the week so now he only has to improve his physical condition," added the Italian. "I think in one week he will be ready to play.

"I think that at the moment Fabregas can be on the bench, but I want to speak to him, I think maybe it is better to have two days of training.

"Yesterday [Thursday] there were problems with fever for Emerson [Palmieri] and [Davide] Zappacosta, and a little problem after the match with the national team for Loftus-Cheek.

"I don't know the situation, I have to speak to the doctor, I don't know if he will be able to play."

Related items

  • Juventus' Alex Sandro has Premier League ambition Juventus' Alex Sandro has Premier League ambition

    Alex Sandro would like to play in the Premier League but any potential suitors in England's top flight are likely to have to wait for his services.

    Chelsea and Manchester United have both been linked to the Juventus full-back, with recent speculation suggesting the London club were readying a January bid.

    The 27-year-old is currently in England, for Brazil's friendly against Cameroon in Milton Keynes, and told reporters he is happy at Juve – for now.

    "I think one day, who knows what will happen. I have a desire to play in the Premier League," Alex Sandro said.

    "But right now I'm very happy where I am, at the club I am at, the league I'm playing in.

    "So today, my only thought is to continue where I am because that's where I feel happy."

    Alex Sandro joined Juventus from Porto in 2015 and has won three consecutive Serie A and Coppa Italia doubles with Massimiliano Allegri's side.

  • Ederson taking goalkeeping to another level, says City hero Weaver Ederson taking goalkeeping to another level, says City hero Weaver

    Ederson's excellence with his feet his helping to redefine goalkeeping, according to ex-Manchester City number one Nicky Weaver.

    The Brazil international joined City for £35million in June 2017 and proved a key component in their march to a 100-point haul and Premier League glory under Pep Guardiola last season.

    Although he has been guilty of a couple of rash decisions recently, conceding penalties in wins over Southampton and Manchester United, Ederson's poise with the ball at his feet continues to catch the eye.

    Former England Under-21 international Weaver, who is fondly remembered by City fans for his penalty shootout heroics in the 1999 Division Two play-off final triumph over Gillingham, is now goalkeeping coach with Championship side Sheffield Wednesday and believes Ederson is at the forefront of a rapidly changing trade.

    "I think goalkeeping has changed a lot, football has changed a lot. It's all about systems now," Weaver told Omnisport.

    "The role of a goalkeeper has changed over the past couple of years – I think it's even changed over the past few months since the World Cup.

    "If you look at City, the way they play out with Ederson. He's the best I've ever seen with his feet. He's unbelievable.

    "The thing with Ederson is not how much confidence he's got – he's obviously got lots – it's how much confidence the players and defenders have in him because they give it back to him under pressure constantly."

    One particular piece of play early on in City's comfortable 3-1 derby win over United last time out caught Weaver's eye.

    "In the first few minutes of the game, someone rolled him the ball back and he trapped it under his foot," he said. "He's about two yards off his line in the middle of his goal. There's a [United] player about four yards away from him.

    "He's clipped it with his left foot over one of the strikers and dropped it into Kyle Walker's chest at right-back.

    "Most goalkeepers would have just hoofed it out of play. Occasionally he will get caught but, to watch him… it's taking goalkeeping to another level.

    "I've watching him live quite a few times and he could probably play left-back if he wanted. He's got such good feet."

    Weaver feels such skills are now a prerequisite for youngsters between the posts looking to reach the top of the game.

    "I think Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp have changed the way football in this country is played," he added, with Ederson's Brazil team-mate Alisson impressing in similar style under Klopp at Liverpool.

    "We've got a Dutch manager [Jos Luhukay] at Sheffield Wednesday – he likes to play out from the back. We do a lot with our feet in training.

    "For me, the most important part will always be keeping the ball out of the net. But at the elite level – you look at Jordan Pickford with England – you've got to be able to use your feet.

    "If you're a young goalkeeper who wants to get to the top, you've got to be strong in all departments and be really comfortable with both feet."

  • Dier encourages English youngsters to follow Sancho's lead Dier encourages English youngsters to follow Sancho's lead

    Eric Dier would like to see more English youngsters follow teenager Jadon Sancho's example and play their club football abroad.

    Sancho has already won three caps at senior level with England despite being just 18 having made a major impression with Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund this season.

    The teenage winger, who left Manchester City to move to Germany in 2017, has six assists - the most in the division - and has also chipped in with four goals despite starting just five league games.

    Fellow 18-year-old Reiss Nelson, who is on loan with Hoffenheim from Arsenal, has scored six Bundesliga goals himself and Dier can see the value in English youngsters moving abroad, as he did when he played in Portugal at youth level.

    "I hope players continue to do what Jadon is doing," he told reporters.

    "That's so important for their development. Not just as a footballer but as a man.

    "He's out of his comfort zone and he's living by himself in a foreign country. Those experiences are important for you to grow as a person."

    Tottenham's Dier developed through the Sporting CP academy and lived in Portugal from the age of seven.

    He will return to the country next June with England after they booked their place in the Nations League Finals in dramatic fashion with a come-from-behind win over Croatia at Wembley on Sunday.

    "It will be the first time I go back and play there since I left - it will be very special," Dier added.

    "It's my home so I am very happy to go back."

SportsMax Zone

Latest Tweets

#Dybala of #Juventus greets a child in a wheelchair in a heartwarming moment. #ChampionsLeague ⚽ action continues… https://t.co/CtKtgibPsE
Join the discussion! What are the Windies' chances against Australia?  Watch video here: https://t.co/ckhNhxpAkx… https://t.co/MRLXyZ414W
#LeBron racked up 51 points for the #Lakers in their victory against the #Heat; while #RudyGay made an impressive d… https://t.co/yLACFxqVY8
Follow SportsMax on Twitter
© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.