Maurizio Sarri is concerned that Chelsea might struggle in their first few games as he implements his ideology on the team, having had less than a month to work with his new players.
The head coach’s problems have been compounded by late arrivals coming back from the World Cup, with senior players such as Eden Hazard, Olivier Giroud, N’Golo Kante and Gary Cahill having only returned this week.
There was also the issue that his late appointment saw either Antonio Conte or coach Eddie Newton lead training sessions with the first team in the first week of pre-season, as Chelsea took part in a long legal battle to release Sarri from his previous contract with Napoli.
The new boss has been playing catch-up, often opting for double training sessions, but thinks that results could suffer in the short term and he has communicated that to his superiors at the club.
“They know it. They know it very well,” Sarri said, as he addressed what the board will think about any early-season struggles. “I hope that the second part of the season, for us, will be very good with a lot of points. I expect in the first part of the season some problems.
“At the moment, we are not at the top of our potential. We did a pre-season and what can I say? It was unusual, maybe. So, we are not at the top. I hope to be at the top of the potential of the squad in one or two months, but I don’t know. Sure now, we are not at the top.
“[I expect a problem] with the results. Maybe the performances in the first part of the season will not be in line with the potential of the squad. I think you have to wait for a couple of months [to see my best football]. You have to wait.”
Chelsea also travelled to Australia and back as they played a pre-season game in Perth, soon after Sarri arrived to train his squad. The club are already looking into how to improve upon their pre-season schedule and will aim to make it fit Sarri’s plans better than the situation he encountered upon his arrival.
The 59-year-old former Napoli manager says that next season’s preparations with be very different, as he aims to make his mark on the Stamford Bridge club .
“[I will change pre-season] completely, I think. If I can, completely. I don’t know. I arrived in the middle of July, so the problem was there. I have to accept it completely, but I think, for the future, it will be better to change it.
“But I think that my perfect programme of pre-season is not completely in line with the programme of the club. So, we have to arrive at a compromise.”