Belfast Telegraph

I'd quit now if job was on the line in Baku final: Sarri

 

Gearing up: Maurizio Sarri and assistant Gianfranco Zola oversee Chelsea training
Gearing up: Maurizio Sarri and assistant Gianfranco Zola oversee Chelsea training
Christian Pulisic

By Andy Sims

Maurizio Sarri's future at Chelsea may be up in the air, but the Italian insists it does not hinge on winning next week's Europa League final.

Sarri's position as Blues boss is still under scrutiny despite what he maintains has been a "very good season", which could become "a wonderful season" if they beat Arsenal in Baku.

The 60-year-old will discuss his future with the Stamford Bridge hierarchy following Wednesday's final, but only to find out "if they are happy with me or not".

As for whether next week's all-English showdown will determine whether he stays or goes, Sarri insisted: "No. If the situation is like this I want to go immediately. You cannot (do) 10 months of work, and then I have to play everything in 90 minutes?

"It's not right. It's not the right way. You're either happy about my work or you're not happy."

Reports in Italy have surfaced linking Sarri with Juventus and Roma, but the former Napoli boss, who has two years remaining on his contract, says neither have been in touch.

"My future is Wednesday," he added. "I need to think only about the final at this moment.

"I have two years of (my) contract here, so I have no contact with other clubs at the moment.

"As you know, I like the Premier League. Very much. It's the most important championship in the world. It's very exciting to be here.

"I'm very happy to stay in the Premier League, with Chelsea, one of the most important clubs in the Premier League. I'm very, very happy but we have to discuss the situation. It's normal. You have to discuss things with the club."

Sarri would not shed any light on whether the final would be Eden Hazard's last game for Chelsea.

The Belgium forward has been heavily linked with a big-money move to Real Madrid, but Sarri said: "I don't know. I want to respect his decision.

"I hope that he will stay with us, but we need to be ready if he decides something different. If I have spoken with him I don't want to say anything."

Wednesday's showpiece throws up the unusual prospect of Gunners goalkeeper Petr Cech playing his final match against Chelsea amid reports he is in line to return to Stamford Bridge as sporting director. But Sarri would only say: "I don't like to speak about an Arsenal player.

"He's a professional player, he has to play for Arsenal until the end of June, so I want to respect the player and the club."

While Chelsea have already qualified for next season's Champions League, Wednesday's match provides Arsenal's only chance.

Sarri, who has previously questioned the motivation of his players, said: "At the moment, we risk having less motivation than the opponents.

"But probably they have more pressure on them than we do at the moment. So there is a positive side and a negative side in both."

Meanwhile, Christian Pulisic hopes he can reach the same heights as Hazard when he begins his Chelsea career this summer - and also wants to play alongside the Belgian next season.

The 20-year-old signed a five-and-a-half-year contract at Stamford Bridge in January to move from Borussia Dortmund in a £58m deal which saw him loaned back to the Bundesliga club for the rest of the campaign.

Hazard has been strongly linked with a move to Real Madrid and has just one year left on his existing contract, with Pulisic set to replace the Belgian if he leaves.

But the USA international aspires to emulate Hazard's achievements at the club, regardless of whether the 28-year-old remains at Chelsea.

"It is incredible to see what Eden can do," he said. "He is a guy to look up to and what I would love to become. It is a goal. Any player would be dumb not to want to be in the same team."

Pulisic added: "Eden is a fantastic player, we all know that and if I can get anywhere close to that I will be happy. He is a great player. I want to come in, be my own player and do the best I can do.

"It is incredible to come in and be in England. If you want to prove yourself it is the greatest stage to be on."

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