Maurizio Sarri opens up on N’Golo Kante’s main weakness

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has indicated that N’Golo Kante does not have the technical qualities when compared to Jorginho on the playing field. The France international has been denied the opportunity to play in the preferred holding role over the course of the campaign and Sarri has now indicated as to why the Frenchman does not fit in the position.

In a news conference, Sarri said that he prefers Jorginho in the central defensive role ahead of Kante, considering the Italian is better when it comes to playing one touch football in the current tactical system deployed, he said: “He’s [Drinkwater] not adaptable, that is my opinion. My opinion is important for me.

“Kante can play with two midfielders because he is a world champion. With the three he is better on the centre right or left because I want a technical player. Jorginho against Brighton played 161 balls, for our way of football it’s important to have a CM and technical and fast with the mind. Kante is wonderful for something different but not playing one touch.”

Chelsea have recently found form with three league victories on the bounce and this has propelled them to the fourth position on the standings after 33 games played. Next up, they are scheduled to face Sparta Prague on the road during the opening leg of the Europa League round of 16 stage and they are considered as favourites to come up triumphs from the encounter.

Thereafter, the Blues have a quick turnaround with a Sunday league game against Liverpool on the road, and it would not be surprising, if some of the regulars are rested during the Prague trip. Chelsea have played out three draws and two wins from the past five meetings against the Reds, but they can expect their toughest challenge yet with Jurgen Klopp’s side competing for the title.

Manchester United Can Repeat Chelsea’s 2012 Season, Says Didier Drogba

Manchester United will be able to eliminate the exploits of Chelsea in 2012, according to Didier Drogba. The former Ivory Coast international was able to produce a magical campaign with the Blues back in 2012 when Roberto di Matteo was able to get the club to a Champions League victory against all the odds. The Italian came in as the replacement for Andre Villas-Boas midway through the campaign and Chelsea were struggling big-time in order to even finish in the top four places. The Blues did not even finish in the top five in that campaign, but they were able to claim a victory in the Champions League.

Drogba has seen several similarities to the campaign enjoyed by Chelsea to the one Manchester United have been experiencing over the last few months. After a lot of struggles under Jose Mourinho, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been able to come in and of a wave the fortunes of United in a spectacular way. United are preparing to take on Barcelona in the Champions League quarter-finals knowing that the Spanish outfit are overwhelming favourites. The English club were able to come up with a remarkable comeback in the previous round in order to overcome PSG despite a 2-0 first leg defeat. The comeback is very similar to the kind of recovery Chelsea showed in their way to the finals back in 2012.

Did you know I was going to do that in 2012? I didn’t. Not even me, I didn’t know [I could]. Maybe someone or a team will come up, a club like Manchester United.From what I saw [against PSG], I have to count on them. They have spirit and quality. They have this thing of having a manager who has won it and knows how to win; this is important. It is always something different when a manager has played at the club.He knows the spirit and he knows everything about the club,” said Drogba.

Michael Ballack advises Eden Hazard, Callum Hudson-Odoi to stay put at Chelsea

Former Chelsea midfielder Michael Ballack has urged Eden Hazard and Callum Hudson-Odoi to stay put with the Blues beyond the current campaign. The duo are currently in a contract standoff with the west London side for different reasons and reports have indicated that they could be sold irrespective of the recent transfer ban levied on the Blues.

Speaking to TalkSPORT, Ballack advised Hudson-Odoi to remain with the Capital outfit and stated that the club should do their best to convince the attacker despite his reduced gametime this term, he said: “I wanted to play when I was young. If I grew up in a club like Chelsea, I would want to stay at Chelsea, and Hudson-Odoi is one of the biggest talents in London and England, so I would stay and try to make my way.”

When asked further on Hazard, the former Germany captain had the same opinion but suggested that the attacker’s stay may depend on whether the Blues can remain competent for major honours, he added: “Normally if a club like Madrid is knocking on the door, it’s normal that he’d be thinking about that. Maybe he is seeing that the club can’t give him that anymore. But if he can have the feeling he will win something maybe the option is to stay.”

The Blues recently receive a huge blow to their summer transfer plans after they were handed a two-window transfer ban by FIFA. However, the embargo could be delayed for at least one transfer window with the appeal and they have a huge decision to make regarding the futures of Hazard and Hudson-Odoi during that time.

Both players will enter the final year of their respective contracts during the summer and so far, there has been no indication to suggest that either would be willing to pen a new long-term deal with the west London giants.

Jamie Redknapp expresses Chelsea manager concerns after FIFA ban

Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp believes Chelsea may struggle to find a quality replacement for Maurizio Sarri following the recent ban levied on them by FIFA. The west London giants have been placed on an embargo for two transfer windows after breaching rules concerning the signing of minor players over the past few seasons.

Speaking to Sky Sports News, Redknapp has said that the Capital outfit could face a difficult journey ahead, given they are likely to serve the ban regardless of the appeal on the table. He added that the sacking of Sarri may not seem a viable option unless they are able to convince a manager to join them and make the most of the younger players at the club.

He said: “Difficult times ahead for Chelsea. They might be able to appeal that but the worry is where does this stop. They will feel like they have been picked on a little bit. If you are a young player at the club, though, then this is music to your ears, and is a really big opportunity for a lot of these young players. There are no excuses for these young players now. If they do go for a new manager, they are going to have to go for someone who buys into their youth system. Whether that is a legend of the club, like Frank Lampard, they will have to turn to youth.”

Chelsea are currently banned from pursuing players as early as the summer transfer window but they could delay the embargo beyond the period with an appeal expected to be made. Nonetheless, they are expected to serve the punishment at some time in the future and such a situation does not exhibit the confidence for any top-class manager to take over. Meanwhile, Sarri’s position at the west London side remains under question and there are suggestions that he could be axed with another defeat to Manchester City during the weekend’s League Cup final.

Vakoun Issouf Bayo hoping to emulate Didier Drogba

Celtic’s new summer signing Vakoun Issouf Bayo is hoping to emulate Didier Drogba after making the switch to the Scottish champions Celtic. The Ivory Coast international became Celtic’s third signing during the winter transfer window after joining them from Slovakian side Dunajska Streda where he contributed 18 goals during the first half of the season.

In a report covered by The Scotsman, Bayo admitted that he is a huge admirer of Drogba, who made a huge name in Europe with Premier League side Chelsea. He added to suggest that he has the same strengths as the former Ivory Coast international and he is hoping to make an impact with Brendan Rodger’s team.

Didier Drogba is a bit like a big brother to me but we haven’t spoken to each other. I do hope I can have a career as good as he had but we will see what happens. When Didier was much younger, this is when you can compare us, he had speed which is one of my qualities and he was also very good with his head which is also one of my qualities, So yes, in a way I am inspired and playing in the same style as a young Didier Drogba,” he said.

Celtic had been hampered in the striking department with the deadline departure of Moussa Dembele and this partly contributed to them suffering rare defeats by their standard during the opening half of the campaign. However, that concern should be sorted hereafter, given Bayo has been added to bolster the frontline alongside Timothy Weah and Oliver Burke. Unlike Bayo, Weah and Burke have joined on short-term loans from Paris Saint-Germain and West Bromwich Albion respectively and Rodgers will be hoping that the club can utilise the added scoring prowess upfront to run away with an eighth successive league title. The Hoops are currently six points ahead of second-placed Rangers on the table.

Chelsea assistant says Alvaro Morata must improve on his goalscoring

Chelsea assistant manager Gianfranco Zola believes Alvaro Morata must show an improvement in the goalscoring department, if he is to succeed with the west London side for the long-term. The Spain international has produced a mixed performance during his 18 months with the Blues where there has been more criticism than praise over his efforts on the field.

Speaking to reporters, Gianfranco highlighted that the people expect more from Chelsea’s number 9 and Morata has the task to meet the expectations put forward. He added that the Spaniard is playing for one of England’s most successful clubs in recent times and he must learn to overcome the difficult situations where he cannot find the scoresheet.

He said: “People expect a lot from Chelsea’s number 9. They expect a lot of goals and many great performances. This is normal and Alvaro has to get used to it. If he goes to another big club, the same thing will happen to him. It is a part of his job and the better he can handle these situations, the better it will be. He has to learn to leave everything behind because these are burdens that will not help you perform better when you step on the field. He plays at Chelsea, not at Southampton or Brighton, with respect for these clubs.”

Morata had found himself out of contention for a regular role during the festive period with a knee problem but he managed to make a comeback in the first XI against Southampton where he was guilty of missing a couple of clear-cut chances. He managed to make up with a brace during the 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup third round but the game may not be taken with much significance, given the striker has yet to substantially prove himself against the elite opposition in the Premier League.