May 30, 2019 11:24 AM NPT
Soccer Football - Europa League Final - Chelsea v Arsenal - Baku Olympic Stadium, Baku, Azerbaijan - May 29, 2019 Chelsea's Eden Hazard is embraced by manager Maurizio Sarri after being is substituted off REUTERS/Lee Smith
BAKU, May 30: Chelsea coach Maurizio Sarri, fresh from winning the first major title of his managerial career with a 4-1 win over Arsenal in the Europa League final, said he was happy in his role, despite persistent speculation he is close to a return to Italy.
“You know very well that I love the Premier League, the level of the competition,” Sarri told reporters.
“I am lucky because I am in Chelsea, one of the best clubs in the Premier League, one of the best championships in the world,” he said.
“So in the moment I am happy but of course I want to know if the club is happy, if we can improve.”
Sarri had secured Chelsea’s place in next year’s Champions League with a third-place finish in the Premier League before he led the Londoners to their third European title since 2012 in the Olympic Stadium in Baku.
But many fans made it clear they did not like the Italian’s style after a run of poor performances in his first season at the helm, leading to reports the former Napoli manager was considering a return to Serie A.
Sarri, 60, said he would speak to top officials at Chelsea - who have made a habit of hiring and firing managers in quick succession - in the coming days.
“We need to know what the club can do for me. What I can do better for the club,” he said. “In a couple of days we will decide. But I have a contract so at the moment we are talking about nothing.”
Sarri also said he had urged his players to be bolder at halftime in the Europa League final, with the score at 0-0, after failing to make much of a dent in Arsenal in the first 45 minutes.
“At the end of the first half I asked my players to play with more courage,” he said.
“We could risk to lose but I wanted a team with more courage for moving the ball better and I think that the players did it very well in the second half.”