What is the team news? Is Rudiger fit to play?
“The usual after the national teams, there are some problems. So now we have the most serious, I think, is Ampadu. Then we have a little problem with Hudson-Odoi, and a little problem with Barkley.
“But with Odoi and Barkley it’s only a question of one or two days. The injury for Ampadu I think is serious. I don’t know how much, but serious.
“We hope to recover him in a couple of weeks. Rudiger has done better in the last two days, like Kovacic. I think they will be able to play.”
Are you hopeful for Eden Hazard to sign a new deal?
“But of course. Of course. Eden is a fantastic player. It will be important for us if he remains with us. Very, very important. But I think also that he can win everything, possibly a Ballon d’Or, here. Without playing in Spain. Because, for example, Chelsea will be able to win the Champions League. Belgium could win the European Championship. He could win everything, without playing in Spain.”
“I don’t know what to say. [Laughs]”
So you’re denying that one…
“I don’t think he is [being kept here like a slave, Sarri laughs]. In the last three months, I have seen him always very happy. So I don’t think so. It’s nothing.”
Are Chelsea playing a better style now than under Mourinho?
“I don’t know. I don’t know because we are talking about a coach who has won everything. He has won everywhere. So I think that I have to respect him. But I think, also, that you all have to respect him.”
Last year Conte and Mourinho had arguments, what do you make of Mourinho’s approach?
“I think he’s a very good coach, a very good manager, one of the best in the world. So I don’t know the problem with Antonio. I think that, on the pitch sometimes, we are a little bit nervous.
“A little bit tense. You can say everything in that moment. But I think that it’s not important, but I think Conte respects Mourinho and vice versa.”
What do you make of the social media abuse Chelsea Women’s player Karen Carney received?
“I think, first of all, I watched the last match against Fiorentina. She’s a very good midfielder, I think. She scored. About the situation, what can I say? It’s not acceptable. It’s disgusting. I don’t know what else to say.”
Is social media abuse a concern for you, for both men and women?
“I’m not used to using [social media]. I think you can use social media, but only for working. Not for socialising. I have a problem to speak with my friends on the phone because I like very much to speak to them face to face, to have dinner together. So I don’t know what to say. It’s not my world. I don’t know.”
Is Mourinho getting the respect his deserves?
“I don’t know. I think not. At the moment. But I’m not really sure. I try… I don’t want to read anything because I know very well that, in football, especially for a coach, we have positive periods and negative periods. And in a negative period, I want to think only with my mind. And so I am trying not to read anything.”
Have you been surprised with United’s start?
“A little bit, but I think it can happen. We are talking about only eight matches. They are doing well in the Champions League, so they have the opportunity to improve in the Premier League. We are talking about two months.”
Do you think Mourinho will look to stifle Chelsea?
“I think so but I think also they are a very strong team. Maybe, player by player, they are the best team in the Premier League.”
Better than City?
“At the moment I think City are better as a team, but player by player, they are really very, very strong. So I don’t know if they will play us or try and play their football.”
Have you told Hazard that he can win the Ballon d’Or here?
“Not at the moment, because I have seen him for the first time in the last two weeks only yesterday. But I want to tell it to him very soon.”
Is there more to come from Chelsea this season?
“I think I’m really, really happy with the results. But I think we need to improve. And I think also we can improve. We can improve because we have had no time to work. I had eight players only at the beginning of August.
“Then we have started to play every three days. So it’s very difficult to work and very difficult to improve the team and the players. I think that, in the future, we can improve and we need to improve.
“To improve more on the performance on the defensive phase because, at the moment, we are giving too many opportunities to the opponents. So we need to improve, I think.”
Andreas Christensen’s father says the defender wants out of the club in January…
“The father? I’m not interested… the father? No. What can I say? I think that, in the first part of the season, David Luiz and Antonio Rudiger have played really very well, so it’s not easy to change. I think, also, that in our last six matches, Christensen has played in three of them. So I think, for his father, it’s not improtant. But, for us, it’s not important.”
What more can he do?
“He is very young. I think he has to improve. But I think that he’s a technical defender, so I think he is suitable for me and my way of football. I think that, in the future, he will be available to play very often.”
Do you still have patience with Alvaro Morata?
“I think that they don’t know me very well. I am not able to think on the market at the moment. I am completely focused on my team, and improving my players. In the last month, I think Morata has played better. In the last three days I have seen him very well in training, very very well.”