Maurizio Sarri fired a parting shot at Eden Hazard and praised Cristiano Ronaldo during his unveiling as the new Juventus manager.
He faced the media and addressed supporters for the first time on Thursday morning in a press conference.
The 60-year-old, kitted out in a sharp club suit, endeared himself to fans in Turin but risked further ire of the Chelsea faithful.
Sarri made a fascinating dig at former Chelsea winger Eden Hazard, who has since joined Real Madrid.
‘In recent years, I’ve had 4-3-3, but the 4-3-3 at Chelsea was very different to the one at Napoli. We had to accompany Eden Hazard’s characteristics, as he could change the game, but also his presence caused issues in defending that we had to work on,’ he admitted.
And he went on to add that none of the Chelsea players are of the quality of Cristiano Ronaldo, who will represent a step up in class.
‘At Chelsea I coached some very strong players, but training Cristiano will be yet another step forward,’ he added.
‘He had made many records. I’d like to help him break some new records.’
Sarri, who later strolled around Allianz Stadium, initially fielded questions from a packed out press conference and admitted to having his head turned as soon as the Italian giants came calling, with one factor being the chance to live closer to his elderly parents.
‘The feeling when Juve called me? Strong’, he said. ‘I’ve never seen a club so determined to get a coach before.
The Premier League was a great experience, but in the latter half (of the season), I felt professional and personal needs to return to Italy.’
Sarri also addressed the changes in style between Napoli and Chelsea, claiming the players at his disposal in London possessed different talents.
‘What changes are the characteristics of the players,’ he said. ‘Napoli had team players, who were totally at the disposal of the team and moved the ball at a decisively quicker pace.
‘Chelsea are made up of probably technically superior players, but with different individual characteristics.
‘They have wingers who want the ball at their feet and like to go one-on-one. It leads to a less fluid style of football, because Napoli had 11 who could play one-touch football, Chelsea had seven or eight who could do that and the others were individuals who could make the difference going by themselves.
At Juventus we hope to win by entertaining. I have to understand how much I implement my philosophy and how much I leave to the characteristics of the players. I organise my teams for 70 metres and then the final 30 I leave to them. Each team is different.’
When asked about the discontent among Napoli fans, many of whom feel betrayed by their former boss, Sarri admitted the opportunity was too good to turn down.
‘Juve are the best Italian club right now and offered me a chance to return to Italy. It’s the crowning achievement of a long career, that for 80 per cent of it was extremely tough.
‘I think I respected everyone. And in the last act I had to respect my profession and my professionalism.
‘I expect to get up in the morning and study how to win games. You have to have clear ideas on 2 or 3 players who can make a real difference for the team and then give them an environment to truly express themselves. Then the formation is dictated by that.
‘It’s going to be an exciting year in serie A especially for the coaches. There’s a long way to go but hopefully the league can start to close the gap with the Premier League.’
The former Chelsea manager lasted just one season at Stamford Bridge, achieving a third-placed finish and steering the side to Europa League glory but failing to win over the fanbase who remained skeptical of his methods and often baffled by his substitutions and in-game management.
A large portion of Chelsea fans took aim Sarri’s methods and chanted ‘f*** Sarri-ball’ during the game against Cardiff.
And Sarri addressed questions about his philosophy. He added: ‘
I don’t know what ‘Sarrismo’ is. I have always been someone who changes based on experiences but remaining faithful to the concepts. I am a direct person, perhaps too much and this leads to clashes but they are resolvable.’
‘In the last few years I always started the season with one formation and then ended it with another.’
‘Allegri leaves a heavy legacy. Winning what he won is very difficult, he achieved extraordinary results and I would like to see in the team the same ability to get past the difficulties that he was able to help them do so.’
Juventus sporting director Fabio Paratici offered his thanks to the Blues for the swift action and straightforward discussions.
‘The negotiation did not last beyond the month. We had clear ideas from the beginning,’ he revealed.