The Chelsea board have consulted under-pressure manager Maurizio Sarri over the club’s pre-season plans despite fears that he may not survive into the next campaign.
The club are planning a trip to Japan this summer but Sarri was unhappy last summer after flying to Australia for a tour within four days of taking over at the club. At Napoli, Sarri became insistent upon a highly focused and lightly marketed trip to Dimaro Folgarida, a resort in the Italian Dolomites mountains, where he ran double sessions and boosted team morale away from the frenzy of overseas fans. Chelsea do have a commitment to visit Japan for commercial activities with shirt sponsors Yokohama Tyres but the club are likely only to play two games there before returning for a quieter European training camp. Under Jose Mourinho, Chelsea enjoyed a calmer pre-season camp in Austria.
Chelsea have stuttered for form since the turn of the year, leading to an expectation that Sarri may not even last the season but the Italian has held talks over the past fortnight with senior club staff. Sarri had previously told Sky Italia last weekend that he had discussed the team for next season with the club. Asked to expand on this claim ahead of Thursday’s round of 16 home leg against Dynamo Kiev in the Europa League, Sarri said: ‘We were talking about the problem of the next pre-season. So we were trying to organise in the best way the next pre-season.’ Sarri did, however, admit he is still uncertain as to whether he will remain at the club.
The Italian added: ‘I have said it’s not important if I’m here next season. At this moment, it’s important only the results. In this moment, Dynamo Kiev is everything. I am confident otherwise I won’t be able to do my work. I have to think this [that I will be here next season] if I want to do my job.’ Sarri was dramatically undermined at Wembley in the Carabao Cup final last month when his goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga refused to be substituted but he insisted Chelsea’s players are not a problematic group to control. He did, however, order his team to improve their mentality and not go missing as they did when crashed to defeats against Bournemouth, Manchester United and Manchester City. He added: ‘As I said before, we have to improve our mentality. We cannot miss three, four matches at all.We are in Chelsea. We need to win something. But the players are not very, very difficult to manage at all.’