Chelsea press conference: Every word from Maurizio Sarri on Kante, Loftus-Cheek and Morata

The Blues beat Fulham 3-0 at Stamford Bridge.

Thoughts on the performance?

“About the performance, I think today the result was important. We started well. At 1-0, I think the players on the pitch had a very good level of application and attention, but without trying to kill the match. I think that we needed to kill the match earlier.

“I think, today, we were a bit nervous. Of course, it wasn’t easy the days after Tottenham for me and the players, but I think that we have thought too much about that match.

“We lost a match after three and a half months. It can happen. So today it was important to react. But I think the team reacted really very well in the Europa League. Today was more important, of course, and I think in the minds of the players there was only the result.”

Did your criticisms made them tense?

“I don’t know. What did you write? I don’t know. I’m asking. Maybe they were nervous for you, and not for me. I don’t know.”

But you were critical of the team…

“I think in Tottenham, 11 players played very badly. So I thought today it was natural to give them another chance.”

What did you think of N’Golo Kante’s performance?

“I think he played very well. He defended very well. He needs, I think, to improve a little more from the tactical point of view, but it’s natural. In the national team he usually plays with the two midfielders. Last season, sometimes with two midfielders and sometimes with three but in the same position. So I think it’s normal he needs to improve.”

Was he more in the positions that you wanted him to be in?

“Today, better, I think. When the ball was on the other side of the pitch, better. I remember only one mistake in the first half. With the ball on the other side, he has to stay very close to Jorginho. Otherwise it’s a big problem for us. Jorginho can cut out passes from the opposition, but he’s not very good in the defensive phase in open spaces. So I think we need Kante very close to him.”

Did the early kick off have an impact on the game?

“It’s not easy for the players to start a game at 12pm. We don’t like it, but I think if you ask 100 players, for 99 it is the same. We have to play at 12, so we have to win at 12.”

Is Ruben Loftus-Cheek giving you a real problem when it comes to making a decision on him?

“No. In the last three weeks, he’s solved me problems. I was really very happy after the last match in the Europa League because I think he played the best performance from the tactical point of view. I was really very happy. Today I saw Kovacic a bit tired, so I put him on the pitch without problems. I was sure about his impact in the match.”

Are you worried about the strikers lacking consistency?

“No. They need only to find continuity. Morata had a good period. Giroud is in a good period. They need more continuity. But of course I think it’s really very normal that sometimes play Morata, sometimes Giroud. We have to play every three days. It’s normal.”

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