London (AFP) – New Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri has spoken of his excitement at facing many of the world’s leading managers now that he in charge of a Premier League side.
The Italian’s arrival at Stamford Bridge, where he replaces compatriot Antonio Conte, sees him join a multi-national cast of managers in English football’s top-flight, with Spain’s Pep Guardiola in charge of champions Manchester City, Argentina’s Mauricio Pochettino the manager of Tottenham Hotspur, Portugal’s Jose Mourinho at the helm of Manchester United and Germany’s Jurgen Klopp in control at Liverpool.
“Chelsea is one of the most important clubs in the most important championship in Europe,” Sarri said when speaking to official club app the 5th Stand on Monday.
“In the Premier League there are all the most important coaches in Europe, maybe in the world.
“It will be for me very exciting to play against Guardiola, Pochettino, Mourinho, Klopp and the others.”
Chelsea finished fifth last season and so missed out on a place in Europe’s elite Champions League.
“I think Chelsea is a good team,” said former Napoli boss Sarri.
“The problem is that in England there are another five, six very good teams. With one or two adjustments we can try to play my football.
“I want to enjoy, first of all, myself. The players have to enjoy themselves. First of all I hope that fans can enjoy the team.”
Sarri’s comments came as Conte, 48, issued a statement through England’s League Managers’ Association.
Conte was sacked on Friday, just 55 days after guiding Chelsea to FA Cup glory at Wembley in his final match in charge of the London club.
He was replaced by Sarri just 24 hours later amid reports that Conte’s final months at Stamford Bridge had been marred by infighting with Chelsea chiefs, particularly over transfer policy.
— ‘Unforgettable seasons’ —
But there was no trace of bitterness in his LMA statement, with Conte insisting: “I would like to thank all of my friends at Chelsea Football Club for their hard work and support over the past two seasons which enabled us to win the Premier League and FA Cup together.
“It was fantastic for me to be able to share my emotions, passion and enthusiasm throughout two unforgettable seasons with these amazing Chelsea supporters, who will always stay in my heart.
“I hope Chelsea will continue to be successful and I wish everyone well for next season.”
He added: “I have made many memories during my time with Chelsea, which I will take with me into my next challenge.”
Conte won the 2016/17 Premier League title with Chelsea in his first season as coach and signed an improved contract, but not an extension to the deal which was due to expire in June 2019.
Sarri’s first game in charge of Chelsea is set to be their pre-season friendly against Perth Glory in Western Australia on July 23.
The 59-year-old is the ninth full-time manager of Chelsea since Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich bought the club 15 years ago.
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