New Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has spoken on the possible departures of Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois, insisting that although he hopes the unsettled pair stay, he is most focused on improving the squad. 

By 90Min
July 18, 2018

New Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has spoken on the possible Stamford Bridge departures of Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois, insisting that although he hopes the unsettled pair stay, he is most focused on improving the players he does have instead of watching the transfer market.

Courtois is thought to be closing in on a €40m (£35.7m) move to Real Madrid, while the Spanish club are also keen on Hazard, who recently suggested he is ready for 'something different'.

Responding to questions on the subject at his first press conference since being hired to replace former boss Antonio Conte, Sarri stressed what he sees his role at the club is.

"We would always like to keep all the strongest players. This is what any manager and any club wants to do. We will have to see how the transfer market goes over the next few days," he said.

"But I want to clarify that I feel much more a pitch manager than a general manager. I feel as though I am one of the few managers that is bored by the transfer market. I don't want to talk about the transfer market and I'm not that interested in it.

"I feel that our task as managers is growing the players that we have."

Sarri also revealed his belief that Eden Hazard is one of the top 'two or three European players', and that he looks forward to working with the Belgian international: 

"Eden Hazard is one of the top two or three European players and he is looking forward to having fun working with him in training and on matchdays. He hopes to improve our Belgian, which he says will be difficult considering he is already at such a high level."

Given the way that Conte was sacked after winning two trophies in two seasons, 59-year-old Sarri was also asked if he knew what he had to do to keep his job. Rather than outline a clear set of goals, he preached the importance of, first and foremost, having 'fun'.

"My goal is to have fun as long as I'm here and possibly being competitive in all the competitions until the end," he explained. "My personal objective is to have fun because I think that in life the biggest gift you may receive is to have fun while you do your job. Few people have this but I hope it will happen to me and I managed to do that last season [at Napoli]."

Asked if that approach wins trophies, he smiled, "Sometimes yes, sometimes no, it depends. I think if you don't win it's better to enjoy.

"I really hope [Chelsea fans can expect entertaining football]. Clearly, the type of football can be entertaining or not, but much depends on the players. I am convinced that if a team has fun, often the fans have fun too. This is very important and then there is the material objective, which is to reach high level objectives, but we must start by having fun. This is important for us and for our fans."

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