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There is no Willian problem, says Chelsea boss Sarri

The Brazilian has been linked with a move away from the west London club.

Maurizio Sarri has spoken to Willian after the Brazil playmaker returned late to Chelsea training, but insists there is no problem between them.

The 29-year-old cut a forlorn figure at times under Antonio Conte, Sarri’s predecessor as head coach, and has been linked with Manchester United, Barcelona and Real Madrid this summer. He reported late for Chelsea duty after the World Cup.

“There is not a Willian problem,” Sarri said.

“I spoke yesterday with him about his lateness, not about his future. It was a very positive conversation. I am happy about it.”

Thibaut Courtois’ future at Chelsea remains uncertain, but Sarri hopes the Belgium goalkeeper will stay.

Courtois is due to return to Chelsea training this weekend after helping Belgium finish third at the World Cup and being voted the best goalkeeper at Russia 2018.

The 26-year-old has a year to run on his current contract and has been continually linked with a move prior to Thursday’s transfer window, with Real Madrid rumoured to be his most likely destination if he is sold.

“At the moment Courtois is the goalkeeper of the club, of Chelsea,” Sarri added.

“I don’t know in the future. It depends on the club. It depends especially on him, I think.

“But, I hope that Courtois will be our goalkeeper. It’s very important for us to keep the top players.”

The futures of Eden Hazard and N’Golo Kante have been the subject of speculation, too, with both set to return this weekend but not in time to feature in Sunday’s Community Shield with Manchester City.

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Chelsea are in the Community Shield after winning the FA Cup under Antonio Conte (Nick Potts/PA Images)

Chelsea are in the season curtain-raiser after the FA Cup win in Conte’s final match as head coach.

Conte began pre-season as boss before belatedly being sacked, with Sarri appointed a day later, on July 14.

The 59-year-old Napoli boss is eager to do well against Pep Guardiola’s City, but he acknowledges the size of the task against the Premier League champions.

Sarri, who has not won a trophy in his career, said: “The match for us is very difficult for one reason: they have worked all together for two years. We started two and a half weeks ago.

“I want to win, because it’s very important to have immediately a trophy.

“But in this moment of the season it’s very important, the performance.

“We have to improve, of course. And so I hope to see from my team another step.”

Sarri admits City are also hindered by players absent on post-World Cup breaks, but the situation contrasts with Chelsea’s as he is new to the role.

Cesc Fabregas may miss out due to a minor knee problem.

“I don’t know if he will be able to play on Sunday, but he has nothing serious,” Sarri said.

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