Maurizio Sarri claims he would take pay cut to avoid Premier League fixture pile-up as Chelsea prepare to play four matches in just 11 days
- Maurizio Sarri says he would take a pay cut in order to end fixture congestion
- His Chelsea team will play four matches in 11 days, starting against West Ham
- The Blues host the Hammers on Monday before travelling to Prague on Thursday
- Sarri believes the EPL ‘could have done more’ for English teams in Europe
- The Italian is also an admirer of former Chelsea academy player Declan Rice
Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri has claimed he would be happy to accept a pay cut if it ensured Premier League clubs received more reasonable space between their fixtures.
Chelsea host West Ham on Monday evening in the first of their four matches in the space of only 11 days. Chelsea travel to Slavia Prague for the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final on Thursday and a Premier League trip to Liverpool precedes the return leg against the Czech team next week at Stamford Bridge.
Sarri is unhappy that this evening’s fixture against West Ham leaves his team with only two days preparation for a major European fixture. Slavia Prague have two extra days after beating Dukia in their domestic league on Saturday.
Maurizio Sarri says he would take a pay cut in order to end fixture congestion
He said: ‘I’m not able to understand why we have to play on Monday. It’s very strange. I am not able to understand the decision of the Premier League because we have to go to Prague as an English team.
‘I think they could have done more for the English teams in Europe. Not just for us, but all the teams involved in Europe. In Serie A, teams play on Friday [before a European game]. If a team is involved in the Europa League away from home, they can then ask to play their next Serie A match on a Monday.
‘It’s a Premier League decision. And they showed in the last season that they are the best because they are able to sell English football in the best way. It’s not so important for me, the salary.’
Pushed on whether he personally would take a wage cut, he said: ‘Yes, of course. It is important to have fun, for me. To work without working because, for me, it’s not work.’
His Chelsea team will play four matches in 11 days, starting against West Ham on Monday
Sarri suggested Chelsea did request a change to the timing of tonight’s fixture. ‘I think so,’ Sarri said. ‘But I think the answer was that, also in the Champions League, the English teams have only three days (to prepare). I think that, in this case, it was easy to solve the problem. But the situation is this, so we can only adapt.’
The Italian is, however, realistic enough to know his player may not share his position in accepting a lower salary.
‘For the players, no, because the Premier League is the best championship in the world. So we need to have very strong players. The Premier League was able to sell in the best way possible the Premier League (rights), so in England we are lucky. We can buy the best players in the world, we have the best championship in the world, and so we have to accept we have to play every three days.’
Sarri also underlined the development of West Ham’s sought-after starlet Declan Rice. The defensive midfielder was released by Chelsea at the age of 14 and Sarri admitted Chelsea are under-strength in Rice’s position.
Sarri praised West Ham midfielder Declan Rice, who was released by Chelsea as a 14-year-old
Sarri did, however, hint that he would look to train up Matteo Kovacic as Jorginho’s study rather than pursue Rice in the summer transfer window, should Chelsea be successful in overturning a FIFA transfer ban.
‘He’s a very good player, very good in the defensive phase because he’s very able to recover the ball. He usually plays very close to the defensive line and, in the first match against West Ham, he was a very big problem for us. I think he is improving in the offensive phase. He has improved during the season because I saw their last matches and I saw a very good midfielder.
‘In that position, we have some problems because we have only Jorginho. In my opinion, Matteo Kovacic could become a very good central midfielder. Of course, he is not a defensive midfielder (at the moment) but in that position I prefer a very technical player. In the last match, Jorginho touched 161 balls.
So, for us, it’s very important for us to have big quality in that position. Big quality not for the last pass, but big quality in terms of moving the ball. No, I want to try with Kovacic. He is only on loan but I’d like very much that Kovacic will stay with us.’
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