Sarri again tells Drinkwater he is ‘not suitable’ and that he can leave Chelsea after midfielder arrested for drink-driving
MAURIZIO SARRI took just weeks to tell Danny Drinkwater he was finished at Chelsea and suggested the £35 million star should leave.
But the brutal Italian insists his hands are clean over the midfielder’s career nosedive and drink drive rap.
Head coach Sarri ushered in a new era when he took over as head coach last July and swept into Stamford Bridge determined to force through his football philosophy come what may.
Premier League winner Drinkwater was bluntly informed there was no place for him in so-called ‘Sarri ball’.
Sarri said: “He knows very well, he has never played because, in my opinion, he is not suitable to my system. To my way of playing.
“I told him everything in August. He appreciated it, but he decided to remain. And so he knew very well the situation.
“I said he should look for something different. In my opinion, he doesn’t play. And I said to him the reasons, my reasons. But, as I said before, he decided to stay at Chelsea.
At the moment, I am not able to satisfy him as a player
“I cannot do anything. A player usually wants only to play. Anything else.
“So I cannot do anything. I can only have with him a very good relationship, no more.
“At the moment, I am not able to satisfy him as a player. So it’s very difficult but he knew.”
Drinkwater has been charged with drink after a smash in the early hours of Monday when his Range Rover crashed in Cheshire.
Sarri quipped “So, it’s my fault?” when quizzed about his handling of a one-time England international who has played only half an hour of the Community Shield this season.
Most of his pre-match briefing was taken up by a player who has not even travelled to the Czech Republic for Thursday’s Europa League quarter final first leg. Drinkwater picked up a knock in training.
Other players in the Chelsea squad have been moulded to fit into the 4-3-3 formation that is Sarri’s trademark.
World Cup winner N’Golo Kante has endured a rough ride before slotting back into the team but Drinkwater is not considered sufficiently adaptable.
JORGINHO PRAISED AGAIN
Sarri said: “No, I don’t think so. It’s my opinion. Maybe I am wrong, but it’s my opinion. My opinion for me is very important.
“So Kante, in my opinion, can play with two midfielders. He’s a world champion in a two.
“With three in my football, he’s better on the centre-right or centre-left.
“In the central position, I want a very technical player.
“Against Brighton, Jorginho played 161 balls. So, for our way of football, it’s very important to have a technical and fast with the mind footballer in the middle, able to play with one touch.
“Kante is wonderful for something different, but not for playing one-touch.
“I don’t know why Drinkwater has stayed. Probably he hoped we could change the system.
“Like all the other players. I have a very good relationship with him because, in my opinion, he’s a good boy.
“He’s a good player. And he’s able to play in a 4-4-2 or a 4-2-3-1 very well. But he’s not suitable for me. He knows this, but I have a good relationship with him.
“I try to be honest. Of course, sometimes, you have to say something different. But in 99 per cent of cases, I try to be honest.”
HAZARD TO BE RESTED
Sarri fronted up about the football issues around Drinkwater, who like most players, would only ask to leave their club as a last resort option.
But conscious of the psychological problems being shunted aside by a manager even in a cut throat industry like professional football Sarri plans to talk with the player later this week.
Chelsea say they do employ a support network for their staff at all levels if they are experiencing problems.
Sarri said: “I think I will speak with him on Friday because yesterday I arrived on the pitch and the training was beginning with Gianfranco Zola.
“After the training session, I went immediately to work because I wanted to see Slavia’s last match. So this morning I had to prepare the match.”
One player very much at the heart of Sarri’s season is Eden Hazard – who may be rested following his stellar performance on Monday when he beat West Ham pretty much single-handed.
Sarri admits he may be forced to make five or six changes to rest weary legs after his side’s 2-0 win over The Hammers less than 72 hours ago.
Slavia Prague defender Vladimir Coufal admits he will be a little on edge facing the Belgian superstar this evening.
The right back said: “If five defenders in the Premier League are transformed into something completely useless it tells you a lot about this player.
Latest Chelsea News
“We will respect him obviously, but we will show him Czech football too.
“I am excited, but scared too but there’s a lot to look forward to.”
Chelsea: Kepa, Azpilicueta, Christensen, Luiz, Alonso, Jorginho, Kovacic, Barkley, Willian, Giroud, Pedro.