(Reuters) – Chelsea’s players must quickly adapt to new manager Maurizio Sarri’s demands as the Italian looks to reshape the team for the new Premier League season, midfielder Cesc Fabregas said.
The 59-year-old Sarri replaced sacked compatriot Antonio Conte at the helm this month and is known to favour an attacking approach as seen at his former club Napoli.
“He is bringing a different style, a different formation and we just need to grow into it,” Fabregas told the club’s website https://www.chelseafc.com/en/news/2018/7/23/fabregas–getting-things-going.
One of Sarri’s first changes has been to ditch Conte’s preferred system of three central defenders to deploy four at the back and Fabregas said the team, currently on a pre-season tour of Australia, were adjusting.
“We need time to re-adapt to a back four and to what the boss wants but I believe we’re intelligent players and players at the top level who will try to adapt as soon as possible,” Fabregas said ahead of Monday’s clash with A-League side Perth Glory.
“The players who are here, together with the youngsters, do a good job trying to get it as fast as we can and hopefully this is a good day to start seeing a few things from what the manager wants from us.”
Left back Marcos Alonso looked forward to Sarri leaving his imprint on the team’s style as they look to improve on their fifth-placed finish last season.
“He likes to play football, likes to press high, to try to have control of the ball and control of the game,” Spaniard Alonso said.
“It could be more similar to the Spanish style, but he has Italian aspects as well… he likes to work with the defence a lot, the back-four line, lots of positioning work.”
Chelsea begin their campaign in the Community Shield against champions Manchester City on Aug. 5. They visit Huddersfield Town in their league opener six days later.
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Ian Ransom)