Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola has expressed hopes that Chelsea will give Maurizio Sarri the freedom to do his job if he eventually succeeds Antonio Conte at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea have been reportedly trying to hire the former Napoli boss for more than a month, and current Chelsea boss Antonio Conte who has refused to leave till he is paid in full for the final year of his contract is set to commence pre-season training at Cobham on Monday.
Zola has also held talks with Chelsea about a return to the club to assist Sarri or take up a technical role. The Italian has backed Sarri to make a big impact at Stamford Bridge, although it will be dependent on if he’s given the conditions to thrive.
“It has to be said that Conte has done an impressive job at Chelsea,” Zola told Calciomercato.
“I would hope that, should Sarri move to London, they will let him do his job, which means planning and organisation leading to constant improvement in the players.
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“I hope he can achieve the same results as previously; it’s certainly a very different challenge and a different situation compared to where he’s been before, but one with lots of advantages. We’re talking about an exceptionally quality coach, who will have the chance of doing a great job.”
Zola revealed his admiration for Sarri’s work for several years dating back to his achievement in bringing Empoli to the Serie A and ensuring that they survived.
“I’ve been following Maurizio for a long time, since I was at Cagliari and I was analysing clubs on the same level and one club that I had a particular fondness of was his Empoli,” he added.
“I liked Empoli because their attidude was rarely seen in a club fighting for those parts of the league table; they were playing as if they were a big club, always looking to take the initiative on the pitch. Sarri’s ability became more evident to all when he moved to Napoli. He is good: the results speak for themselves.
“Anyone who loves football cannot help but fall in love with the way Napoli have been playing these years.”
Meanwhile, Sarri will be faced with the huge task fo returning Chelsea to the top of the Premier league amid competition from the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Spurs and Manchester City who emerged as Premier League champions last term, with the rivals also investing in their squads.
“Manchester City are favourites but in the Premier League there are no guarantees; it’s not that because City won the league last year they are more likely to win it again this year,” he insisted.
“It’s a very competitive league, between United who’ll invest a lot, Chelsea themselves, the always improving Tottenham, Arsenal… it’s a very lively league and very open to other clubs. City won’t dominate the way they dominated this past year, I’m almost certain about that.”