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Maurizio Sarri reveals problems inside the team, spokes out on Kante and Hazard deal. Full transcript from the press conference

Tottenham and Chelsea face off at Wembley on Sunday as Maurizio Sarri gets his first taste of a London derby against Mauricio Pochettino’s side.

Ahead of the game Chelsea boss, Maurizio Sarri has spoken out to the press.

Sarri claimed there are no big problems in the team: “As usual after international break, there are some issues, a little tired, but fortunately no big problems. Kovacic is doing better He had an ankle problem, he has been doing all the training. I think he will be able to play.”

France International N’Golo Kante has signed a new five-year deal with the club and Sarri is happy about it: “ N’Golo for us is not an important player for us, he is a determined player and I am very happy for him. It is very good news for us. I know that David said something about him, that he doesn’t want to pay the bill in the restaurant, but he is a very professional player on the pitch and off it.  He is very important defensively, but he can score more and he can improve in the final 25 metres of the pitch.”

However, the boss does not know anything about Eden Hazard’s contract.

“I don’t know the movement of the contract. He is doing very well, he played on Sunday so was with us on Tuesday. But I hope we can do [a new contract], I hope so,” Sarri said.

More from the press conference.

Pochettino’s job so far?

He is doing a very good job. They are playing good football. They are a very strong team, are competitive and will fight for a Champions League position for sure. We have to make sure we don’t lose the ball in our half for sure, they are dangerous in those situations.

Can Spurs win the title?

I think there is a team above which is Man City, then a very good team in Liverpool. Then four or five teams fighting for the other positions. Sometimes there is a surprise.

Can Chelsea beat City to the title?

At the moment no. They are stronger than us and we have to work hard to cover the gap, but it is still there. We have to do it [cover the gap], we can recover but in the first season, I don’t think we can recover 30 points.

Have you spoken to the players about the problems you have had?

Of course, but I think it is a mental problem. In the last three matches, we had a problem with the approach of the match. But not only. We have to be careful and be focused on this problem. For sure it is not a physical problem, we have some difficulties. It is not a tactical problem. In the last 15 minutes of three matches, it was the opposition was more determined than us, we have to approach the match in a different.

A difficult time of the season

It was difficult from September to now, we have played three games in ten days, then the national teams. January and February will be difficult, maybe the rotation will be different.

How have you avoided injuries, unlike Spurs?

I think we have problems with individual training. There are players, some very important players, that have to play 75 matches in a season. It is a big problem, especially with teams like us. I have 16 players in national teams. It is a big problem and we have to reorganise the football because it is difficult for a player to be in top condition for 75 matches. It is a big problem for modern football.

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