CHELSEA boss Maurizio Sarri admits his flying start to the season is partly down to the Spanish players at Stamford Bridge.
The Italian has started well in England, guiding Chelsea to second-place in the Premier League after eight games, with a little help from the in-form Eden Hazard.
Sarri’s arrival was delayed due to a hold-up over his Napoli release clause, meaning the former banker only joined the Blues a few weeks before the start of the season.
Many thought the ex-Empoli boss would need time to implement his attacking style of play with his new club.
But Sarri admits the likes of Marcos Alonso, Cesar Azpilicueta and Pedro understood his methods due to already speaking the ‘football language’ in Spain.
“I’ve been here for three months and at the start it was difficult,” he told Corriere dello Sport.
“I arrived in mid-July, those players coming off the World Cup in August and we immediately had a tour in Australia, so there wasn’t much time. I had planned for a longer apprenticeship.
“I was helped by the Spanish players at Chelsea, those who already speak our football language.
“Now we’re having some fun. We needed a few more weeks at Napoli, but Serie A is different.
“Here I said to myself: ‘Watch out Maurizio, you dreamed for a lifetime to make this step, so now try to be yourself.’
“I saw the tactical mechanisms worked straight away, the results then pushed us on further.”
Chelsea are only behind current champions Manchester City on goal difference at present.
And Sarri feels Pep Guardiola’s side can challenge for European glory this term.
“This season, there are two candidates to win the Champions League: Juve and Manchester City,” he added.
“I always thought Pep Guardiola’s side was mature enough for the final step on the European stage, but then we’ll have to see how the Spanish clubs are doing in March.
“Things change quickly in the Champions League.”