New Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri lamented his depleted squad after his side fell 2-0 to Manchester City in the Community Shield on Sunday, saying he’s yet to even see six players.
Chelsea had many of their World Cup participants back in action at Wembley as the likes of Willian, Antonio Rudiger, Cesar Azpilicueta, Victor Moses and Wily Caballero all started against Chelsea.
But the six players whose national teams reached the semifinals — France’s N’Golo Kante and Olivier Giroud, Belgium’s Thibaut Courtois and Eden Hazard, and England’s Gary Cahill and Ruben Loftus-Cheek — were still absent in the final week before the Premier League resumes.
And asked after Sunday’s game how much time he would need to implement his tactics at Chelsea, Sarri could only say, “I don’t know how long it will take.
“I arrived three weeks ago, and I haven’t seen six players yet. It depends on me, it depends on the players. But I don’t know.”
The Italian did add, however, that his team’s cohesiveness was not yet up to where he wants it to be.
“We have the idea to press but sometimes we press in the right way and sometimes not,” Sarri said. “We want to be in control of the match but today we were not in control. It’s a long way. We have to work. It’s not very easy.
“In the next week we have a friendly match [against Lyon in the International Champions Cup] and I prefer to be on the pitch with the players only for training.”
The question of whether Courtois will return to Stamford Bridge at all remains in doubt after his agent said on Saturday that the goalkeeper has made it clear to Chelsea he wants to move to Real Madrid.
But Sarri said he would wait to speak to Courtois himself before commenting on the player’s future.
“I have no reaction on the agent. I’m not interested in the agent, I want to hear if Courtois tomorrow will say the same,” Sarri said. “I have to speak with my club. I want only players with high level of motivation. I don’t have any answer to the agent.”