Sarri’s pre-Inter presser and Bernardeschi muses over role and Chiesa

Maurizio Sarri introduced tomorrow’s friendly against Inter in Nanjing: “It is never just another game, even though the two teams can not perform at their peak considering the physical conditions and the humidity level. We are looking for some continuity from what we have done in the second half against Tottenham. I do not expect many differences compared to the first game. We are practicing little and playing a lot in this tour, so the deciding stage of the preparation will start when we will come back.”

On the attack: “You can not privilege just one of the two phases, so we are working a lot on the defense too. I like to see a squad that is able to replicate the same rhythm also in training and I think that our group can do that easily. I ask the player a lot in the half an hour they are on the pitch, while I do not want to police them off of it, because if they get here that means that they are professionals. I want intensity in practice, when feasible. It is not something that can be taken for granted, we can achieve that in short order.” Cristiano Ronaldo will mainly play on the left, but we know he likes to cut inside. He will be to a difference-maker. Paulo Dybala could feature as false-nine, but we might also find other solutions. He may be used as no.10, linking the lines behind two strikers.”

On Matthijs De Ligt: “He is a phenomenal prospect, he has personality since Ajax made him captain. In the back, somebody will have to spend time on the bench because we have very few very important players. I hope to be able to find minutes for everybody.”

On Premier League: “I think that the level of Italian coaches is evident, we are one of the best schools on that front. The gap with other championships is only economic, not technical.”

Federico Bernardeschi gave an interview to Tuttosport and addressed his lack of consistency: “I do not think it is a mental problem, my coaches always told me the opposite, that should think less and have some more breaks and that I should play with a freer state of mind. I believe it is rather a tactical matter, I often change roles and move around and that causes me to get out of the game. Specializing in one thing could help me oil some mechanisms. I am trying as right winger for now, Sarri will tell me if he wants a change. We have always used 4-3-3 so far but I am also at ease in the hole in 4-3-1-2.”

On the new coaching method: “We work a lot with the ball and keep a very high tempo, these are the main changes so far. There is an important identity and a different attitude compared to last season. Since we will have a more structured playing style, every striker will benefit from it, including Ronaldo.”

On the title race: “Few strong teams are being assembled in Italy: Inter, Napoli, Roma, Milan, which I think will show their worth. Atalanta are coming off a great season. The bar has been raised. If I had to pick somebody, I would say that Napoli and Inter will be the main rivals.”

On Champions League: “I believe that every season could be the right one, the management has been working on it for a long time, like the squad.”

On Federico Chiesa: “It is only fair for him to decide on his own, he is the only one that can do it. This was essential to me and allowed me to keep my head high and always look forward. Nobody can dictate him what to do next. We played together for two seasons, now we partner up in the national team, but I am leaving him alone. He must be thinking about a billion things and he does not me to tell him anything.”

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