Manchester. Pep Guardiola and Maurizio Sarri share a mutual admiration and style of play, but as Chelsea visit Manchester City on Sunday, Sarri is also following Guardiola’s experience of a difficult first year in England.
Long forgotten now after romping to the Premier League with a record 100 points last season, City suffered some serious growing pains in Guardiola’s debut campaign.
Sarri acknowledged on Friday a return to Champions League football next season is Chelsea’s target with a 12-point gap to City and Liverpool too big to bridge for the title.
The Blues enter the weekend holding onto fourth by two points from a surging Manchester United with Arsenal just a point further back.
Yet, hope does exist for Chelsea should Sarri learn the same lessons Guardiola did after his first experience of the harsh winter months in English football. Sarri did not suffer defeat for his first 18 games in charge until late November.
A run of five losses in 12 Premier League matches, most notably a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Bournemouth last month, has since taken the shine off the Italian’s reputation.
Guardiola won his first 10 games in all competitions as City boss before things started to unravel.
A 2-0 win at Everton on Wednesday night that took City back to the top of the table on goal difference came almost two years to the day since his side were thrashed 4-0 at Goodison Park.
“People believe we arrive with good players, good clubs and everything immediately must work,” said Guardiola on Friday of Sarri’s current predicament.
“Sometimes you need more time but I think the season from Chelsea is exceptional.” (AFP)