The Juventus boss also revealed that he has the best relationships with the former players who did not play much under him.
Former Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri has admitted that he had a ‘conflicting relationship’ with the club’s stars during his time in England.
Maurizio Sarri, who currently manages the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Paulo Dybala, Matthijs de Ligt and Gianluigi Buffon at Juventus, took charge at Chelsea at the beginning of the 2018-19 season after performing well at Napoli for three seasons. However, his time at Stamford Bridge was limited to a single year due to the many controversies that he faced during this time.
One of those would undoubtedly be the incident with goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga in the Carabao Cup final against Manchester City, when he famously refused to get substituted off much to the Italian’s displeasure.
In terms of results, the Blues did comparatively well that season – they started the Premier League with a 12-match unbeaten run, eventually finishing the season at third place. They also won the Europa League and reached the finals of the Carabao Cup as mentioned earlier, but multiple issues between Sarri and the players, along with some thorough defeats such as the 6-0 loss against Manchester City and his predictable formations and selection choices led to Frank Lampard replacing him as the head coach ahead of the ill-fated 2019-20 season.
And now, in an interview with Juventus’ official YouTube channel, Sarri himself revealed that he did not always see eye-to-eye with the Chelsea stars.
“The higher the level, the more difficult it is to build a relationship with the players,” he said, before adding, “It’s not the players who change, but the surroundings. You need more time, but you still manage.”
“I had a conflicting relationship with the Chelsea locker room during the first five to six months, but then when I left after the Europa League final I cried and also a lot of the guys did.
“I’m not so much a person who pats others on the back. I talk a lot about what they do wrong and less about the good things they do.”
“I think that has a big impact, but then they learn to appreciate you for who you are. The longest relationships are with the lads I played least, so I think they recognise something once they absorb your character,” the 61-year-old explained further.
Sarri went on to say that that he now has positive relationships with several of his former players, some of who have even sought out his advice on coaching.
“The best relationships I have now are with those former players who did not play much. Those who are at the end of their career and want to start managing come to me for advice on football in general, on the experience they are having and some even ask to be in my staff to learn how to become a manager,” Sarri said.
Despite making all the above statements and adding that he would never return to England, the Juve boss was also quick to admit that he still misses the Premier League.
“I would never live there [again], I don’t understand how the Italians who are there do it,” he said, before concluding:
“As for the football, it’s a different story. I miss the Premier League. It has an extraordinary technical level and an incredible atmosphere.”