Maurizio Sarri was unveiled as Chelsea head coach on Wednesday.
Antonio Conte’s successor has plenty on his to-do list at Stamford Bridge.
Here’s a look at some of those issues.
Like Conte, Sarri began on message. He was vague when asked about contact with the club prior to his appointment and refused to divulge any talks with owner Roman Abramovich.
“I don’t want to start a work relationship with him by speaking about private things,” said Sarri, when asked whether Abramovich has assured him of his commitment despite the Russian billionaire’s dispute with UK authorities over his visa. Continued diplomacy will be necessary, behind the scenes and in public.
Bring back the fun
The 59-year-old former Napoli boss wants to enjoy himself and for the players and supporters to have fun too. At times last season under Conte, too few of the players seemed to be enjoying themselves. He also hopes Chelsea will play his brand of entertaining football.
“I’m convinced if a team has fun the fans have fun too,” Sarri said. “This is very important. There are material objectives, to reach high-level objectives, but we must start by having fun.”
This is largely a club issue, given Chelsea managers, or head coaches, have decreasing influence on transfer strategy. And Sarri says he has no interest in transfers. The Italian also spoke of his desire to hold face-to-face talks with Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois over their futures, with their contracts winding down.
Sarri, who wants them to train under him before making any decision, said: “A telephone call without looking them in the eyes would not give me any certainty. I would like to meet these players face to face, talk to them and understand what the best thing to do would be for everyone.”
Win, win again and win well
The Blues are serial winners. Anything less is a sackable offence. Even claiming two pieces of silverware could not spare Conte. But Sarri has not won a trophy in professional football. “It’s true I haven’t won anything,” he said. “Honestly I hope I will be able to fill in this gap with the club.” He says the only target set by the club is to be in contention in all competitions next spring, at the business end of the season.
Chelsea finished fifth, 30 points behind champions Manchester City last season. Sarri added: “The first step for us is to fill in a gap which was quite clear last year, but which two years ago was in favour of Chelsea. I hope it was an occasional gap, not a structural one.”
Time is ticking
Sarri and Chelsea have three weeks until the summer transfer window for the Premier League closes, prior to the season starting. There is no time to waste. But with World Cup winners N’Golo Kante and Olivier Giroud on holiday, along with Hazard and Courtois, who finished third with Belgium, Sarri is without key members of his squad.
“It will take some time to build a slightly different way of playing,” Sarri said. He was adamant he is unfazed by the prospect of the sack, saying: “The job means risks, but also a lot of satisfaction. What happened in Chelsea in the past does not concern me. I am not afraid, I don’t want to be afraid.”
Arsene Wenger’s 22-year reign at Arsenal was brought to an end when he stepped down last season.
After several candidates were in the running, the job went to Unai Emery in the summer.
However, legendary Gunner David Seaman does not expect the former Paris Saint-Germain coach to find his feet immediately.
“I don’t think it will click straight away,” the former goalkeeper said.
Watch the video below for all of Seaman’s quotes.
Mahrez, 27, signed a five-year deal to complete his £60million switch from Leicester seven days ago, while former England goalkeeper Hart has spent the last two seasons on loan at Torino and West Ham after falling out of favour with Guardiola.
Defender Mendy, who made just one substitute appearance for France during their triumph at Russia 2018, and Portugal midfielder Bernardo Silva are the only members of Guardiola’s squad who featured in the World Cup to be included on the trip.
“Manchester City players and staff departed for the club’s summer tour of the US earlier (on Tuesday),” City confirmed on their official website.
“Over the next 11 days, we will play Borussia Dortmund at Soldier Field in Chicago, Liverpool at New York’s MetLife Stadium and Bayern Munich in Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium.”
England quartet John Stones, Kyle Walker, Fabian Delph and Raheem Sterling are among those currently enjoying a break after their World Cup exploits.
— Manchester City (@ManCity) July 17, 2018