Ahead of next week’s UEFA Europa League Final, Maurizio Sarri spoke to the footballing media on Arsenal, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and his own future.

Here’s the full transcript of what he had to say…


On the latest regarding injuries and general fitness –

“We are trying to recover Kante, he had part of the training yesterday with the group. We are optimistic he can play in the final. No Rudger, Loftus-Cheek or Callum. The only player who can recover is Kante.”

On the recent ‘Juventus interest’ –

“I have two years of contract here so I have had no contact with other club at the moment. I will speak to the club after the final to find out if they are happy with me.”

On being happy at Chelsea –

“It is the most important championship in the world. It is very exciting to be here, I am only thinking to the final.”

On his future –

“At the end of the season you discuss with the club, it is normal, every club is like this.”

On if he can make his time at Chelsea a success –

“In the last two years, City won everything in England. So I think that the way of football of City is not like mine but similar. I think that we can play my football also in England.”

On player fatigue after a long season –

“We finished the Premier League tired. After the match in Boston, we had days off, we have recovered and we are working. The last three days will be preparing for the final in the best way.”

On Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s injury –

“In Boston, the pitch was not very good. In an injury like that, there isn’t only one reason, there are probably a lot of reasons. We can’t say the only reason is the pitch, of course. The injury is very similar to Callum’s injury”

On meeting Roman Abramovich in Boston last week –

“No, no, no. The owner was there only to ask the condition of Loftus-Cheek, I spoke with him for only one minute, no more, only about Loftus-Cheek.”

On the UEFA Europa League Final being played in Baku, Azerbaijan –

“The location is a big problem for our fans, it would be better if it was another location.”

On the future of Eden Hazard –

“I want to respect his decision, I hope he will stay with us. We need to be ready if he decides something different. Hazard is good for every team [after being asked about Real Madrid], also for us.”

On Henrikh Mkhitaryan missing out of the final due to political reasons –

“I feel very disappointed for the situation, I would like to see him play.”

On Petr Cech being named as Chelsea’s Sporting Director –

“I don’t know, I don’t like to speak about an Arsenal player. At the moment, he is a professional player and has to play for Arsenal until the end of June.”

On criticism towards himself –

“For the fans, we have to play better and win more. There is no other way.”

On whether he should be allowed to stay at Chelsea –

“This season is a good season, of course, if we win the Europa League it will become a wonderful season. I think this group deserves to continue to try to improve more.”

On meeting Christian Pulisic at Cobham this week –

“Welcome.” (Laughter happens than adds) “Pulisic knows very well our way of playing… he is ready to join the group.”

On his future at Chelsea –

“The situation is clear, I have a contract.”

On the fans and media perhaps not liking him –

“I don’t know the situation about the fans and the media, one is probably the consequence of the other. I can only work, try to help my team, play better win matches, I can’t do more.”

On how good the season has been so far –

“We had a very good season but we need to do more and improve. I don’t know what to say about the market, my future is the final. I am not able to think about next season or more. My feeling is that for our group this final is very important.”

On what he thinks about Ruben Loftus-Cheek –

“I’m disappointed but it’s useless to continue to speak about him. I’m sure he will return stronger than in the past & I’m sure he will become one of the best midfielders in Europe”

On the severity of Loftus-Cheek’s injury –

“For sure, he will become one of the best midfielders in the world. I don’t know the timing. Maybe four-five months. Training after five months then to train to play at the best of his abilities.”

On if he has to beat Arsenal in the final to save his job –

“If the situation is like this then I want to go immediately. After 10 months of work then I have to play for everything in 90 minutes. It is not the right way. You are either happy with my work or not.”

On Arsenal playing in Baku for a chance to play in the UEFA Champions League next season –

“We didn’t want to play this final for the Champions League. We wanted the Champions League through the Premier League finish, then to win a trophy.”

And that’s the end of the Press Conference. A very good presser from Sarri in my opinion. Strong and stood his ground multiple times throughout.

Terry Sazio

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