Sarri thinks highly of 'apprentice' Howe

Maurizio Sarri is wary of Eddie Howe's Bournemouth, who have the quality to punish any complacency from the Blues.
Maurizio Sarri is wary of Eddie Howe's Bournemouth, who have the quality to punish any complacency from the Blues.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Today's clash at Stamford Bridge represents an apprentice taking on his master, as Burnley's Eddie Howe looks to get one over new Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri.

Howe flew to Italy in 2014 to observe then Empoli boss Sarri's methods first-hand and the pair have since formed a good working relationship.

At his pre-match press conference yesterday, the Italian praised his counterpart's impact, with the Englishman now the longest-tenured manager in the Premier League despite being only 40.

"Eddie came to Empoli four years ago and we stayed in Empoli together for four days. In the last season (I had) with Naples, I went to Bournemouth for three days for the friendly and we stayed together for three days, so I know him very well," he told Sky Sports.

"He is a very interesting young coach, he will make a mark on English football in the future."

Although the Blues are now riding high in the league as joint-leaders with Liverpool and behind only on goal difference, Sarri warned his players that the Cherries have the quality to punish any moments of complacency.

"They are very dangerous opponent for us because they are well organised. They are dangerous in counter-attacks and so the match will be very difficult and very dangerous for us," he added.


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The 59-year-old also sought to reassure England midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who spent last season on loan at Crystal Palace and has yet to start in the league this term, over his club future and that he still had a role to play with games coming thick and fast.

Chelsea were yesterday drawn with Belarus' Bate Borisov, Hungary's Vidi and Greek club Paok in Group L of the Europa League, while Arsenal will take on Portugal's Sporting Lisbon, Azerbaijan champions Qarabag and Ukrainian outfit Vorskla in Group E.

The Blues will be playing in the Europa League for the first time since they won it in 2013 and Loftus-Cheek is expected to feature heavily in the competition.

"I can say that I am very, very happy with him because in the last 10 days, he has improved a lot," Sarri insisted. "He has great qualities, from the physical point of view, (but) he needs to improve from the tactical point of view. If he improves more, he will be ready to play from the beginning.

"In September, we will start playing every three days so he will be important and useful for us."


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 01, 2018, with the headline 'Sarri thinks highly of 'apprentice' Howe'. Print Edition | Subscribe