Maurizio Sarri: Chelsea are a year behind Liverpool
Everton boss Silva frustrated by offside goal that gave Arsenal 2-0 win at Emirates Stadium
Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri during the match against West Ham at London Stadium. It ended scoreless. Photograph: Reuters/David Klein
Chelsea go into successive games against Liverpool this week having surrendered their perfect record under Maurizio Sarri, and with the head coach warning it will take him at least 12 months to hoist his side to the level of the new Premier League leaders.
After a goalless draw at West Ham United, Chelsea ended the weekend in third place. While for a midweek tie at Anfield in the Carabao Cup both teams could field much-changed lineups, the top-flight meeting at Stamford Bridge on Saturday is already eagerly anticipated, although Sarri is wary of the threat that will be posed by Liverpool.
The Italian is still trying to impose his playing philosophy at the club he joined in the summer, and admitted Jürgen Klopp’s side were far closer to the finished article than his own.
“We have to play against a very, very good team,” he said when contemplating the league game next Saturday against the early-season pacesetters. “Against a team who have worked with the same coach for three or four seasons [Klopp joined in October 2015, with this his fourth campaign in charge].
“They are a step ahead of us at this moment. We have started to work all together only about 40 days ago, less 10 for the international break, so for us it’s a bit early. We have to work, then maybe in one year we will be at the same level as Liverpool.
“We need to move the ball quicker, I think. We need more movement without the ball. We are improving in the defensive phase. In the last two or three matches we’ve done very well. But we have to improve in the offensive phase, especially in this kind of match.”
Very difficult match
Asked if it might be easier to break down a team such as Liverpool who will seek to attack Chelsea, even at Stamford Bridge, rather than their obdurate opponents in West Ham on Sunday, Sarri said: “I don’t think so. Easy, against [Mohamed] Salah, [Roberto] Firmino and [Sadio] Mané? I think is impossible. It will be really a very difficult match. Maybe a spectacular match, but for us very difficult.”
The Italian suggested he could change “11 players or maybe only five” in the League Cup tie on Wednesday, when he will definitely be without the injured Antonio Rüdiger, who hurt his hamstring at West Ham, and Pedro, who is recovering from a shoulder problem.
Meanwhile, Everton’s manager Marco Silva expressed frustration and bemusement at the Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang goal that sank Everton and gave Arsenal a 2-0 win at Emirates Stadium.
Aubameyang was a full yard offside when he converted from Aaron Ramsey’s flick to build on the lead that Alexandre Lacazette had just given Arsenal on 56 minutes, and there would be no way back for Everton.
“It’s really frustrating and I’ll tell you why,” said Silva. “We had in that moment just one defender in our box – Jonjoe Kenny – and so it’s too clear for the assistant referee. It was a counterattack and, after one pass, it’s two against one or three against one.
“It’s clear where Kenny is in that moment, and it’s clear on the second touch [by Ramsey] where the player who finishes is as well. He’s clearly offside. For me it’s a little bit strange but it’s okay. I make mistakes; my players as well. The assistant referees can make them.
‘Really hard for us’
“The goal was not a clear kill [of the game] because we kept trying but, of course, it was really hard for us. We were in control of the game in that moment. They’d scored a great goal [through Lacazette] but we’d try to fight for 1-1, for sure.”
Everton had created a fistful of good chances in the first half only to run into Petr Cech in inspired form. Even at 2-0, he continued to deny Silva’s men.
“Clearly, we didn’t deserve this result,” Silva said. “It didn’t reflect the performance of both teams. We were creating problems – we had many chances – and then, in one detail, a great moment for Lacazette, the game changed.
“In the past Arsenal have won this fixture too easily but we came here to challenge them, to play in our play. We just have to be more effective [in front of goal]. That’s something we’re working to achieve.
“Today there was a great finish by Lacazette and one offside goal, but as well we have to be more effective because we created three, four, five chances and we must score.”