Sarri similar to Guardiola, says Pedro

Andy Keogh (left) of Perth Glory and Marcos Alonso of Chelsea contest a header during the friendly yesterday. The only goal of the match was scored in the fifth minute by Pedro to seal victory in Maurizio Sarri's first game in charge of the Blues.
Andy Keogh (left) of Perth Glory and Marcos Alonso of Chelsea contest a header during the friendly yesterday. The only goal of the match was scored in the fifth minute by Pedro to seal victory in Maurizio Sarri's first game in charge of the Blues.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

PERTH • Maurizio Sarri got off to a winning start as Chelsea manager after the Blues defeated Perth Glory 1-0 in a pre-season friendly at a sold-out Optus Stadium yesterday.

Spanish forward Pedro - who compared Sarri to Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola, his former Barcelona coach - scored in the fifth minute.

"They are similar," Pedro said of his new manager, who is known to favour an attacking approach as seen at his former club Napoli.

"Their intensity, mentality. It is good, these ideas, it will take time. It is the start of the pre-season.

"The coach is very motivating. A really good, honest coach. I knew of him and what he did at Napoli. I was not close with him, but he is a very good coach with very good ideas."

Sarri played a 4-3-3 formation, a change from former Chelsea manager Antonio Conte's usual 3-4-3.

Midfielder Jorginho, who joined Sarri from Napoli for an initial £50 million (S$89.5 million), had a good Chelsea debut, touching the ball 101 times and making 98 successful passes in 45 minutes.

Sarri gave a brief press conference after the match, stating that the team had a plane to catch.

"Good in the first half, not so much in the second half. Lost a lot between the defenders and the midfielders. We have to improve very quickly," the 59-year-old said.

Pedro was not the only player who felt that the change in formation and playing style has shown positive signs for the team.

His compatriot Cesc Fabregas, who captained the side yesterday, has said that Chelsea players must quickly adapt to Sarri's demands.

"He is bringing a different style, a different formation and we just need to grow into it," Fabregas said.

"We need time to re-adapt to a back four and to what the boss wants, but I believe we're intelligent players at the top level who will try to adapt as soon as possible.

Wing-back Marcos Alonso also looked forward to Sarri leaving his imprint on the team's style. "He likes to play football, likes to press high, to try to have control of the ball and control of the game," the Spaniard said.

"It could be more similar to the Spanish style, but he has Italian aspects as well... he likes to work with the defence a lot, the back-four line, lots of positioning work."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 24, 2018, with the headline 'Sarri similar to Guardiola, says Pedro'. Print Edition | Subscribe