Chelsea head coach Maurizio Sarri was in an upbeat mood despite seeing his side lose to Premier League rivals Arsenal on penalties, declaring that he was happy with his side’s performance and remained positive that they will be ready in time for the upcoming season.
Alvaro Morata, who became the club’s record signing last season when he arrived at Stamford Bridge for a cool £60 million, was labelled as a flop as his form nosedived in the second half of the 2017/18 campaign.
And despite showing flashes of brilliance in pre-season, he seemingly returned to type against the Gunners with a poor penalty attempt in the first-half, which was easily saved by Petr Cech.
However, Sarri, in his post-match press conference, said he wasn’t worried over his striker’s lack of form in front of goal as he stated, “I don’t know if he is not confident. Maybe he was tired. The last three days for him were very intense, so maybe this match he was a bit tired. I am not worried about Morata.”
The lanky Spaniard did fly back to his homeland to attend the birth of his twin daughters and while fatigue could have played a part as his training was disrupted, Chelsea fans will hope that he finds his shooting boots soon for the Community Shield tie with Manchester City is only days away.
“We had our first training on 16 July. We were late compared to Arsenal’s physical condition. We did very well in the first half. We made a mistake in the last minute, but I’m really happy with the performance,” the Italian responded when asked why he was happy despite the loss.
However, the highlight of the presser was when Sarri was asked whether he was confident that wantaway wingers Eden Hazard, Willian and custodian Thibaut Courtois will remain Chelsea players for another season.
“Not at this moment, no, because I will see them on Saturday for the first time. I don’t know the situation in this moment. There is no news. Of course (we want to keep them). We are talking about top players. Every club wants to keep their top players and we are trying to do it.”
Willian, who was on international duty only till the 2018 FIFA World Cup, only returned to training on Wednesday, when in fact he should have checked in a few days earlier. The Brazilian’s tardiness has been attributed to passport issues, but Sarri was unimpressed when asked to comment on his player’s late arrival.
“I want to speak to him before I answer these questions. I want to speak to him. I am not happy about this situation but before I answer, I would like to speak to him.”
Chelsea’s pre-season fixtures are done now and the club will now focus on Sundays’s date at Wembley for Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City lie in wait.
The Blues open their 2018/19 Premier League campaign with an away fixture at Huddersfield Town on August 11.