Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri 'bored' by transfer market
LOS ANGELES -- Jose Mourinho admitted he is "worried" about Manchester United's start of the season because so many of his players had long World Cups.
The United manager has brought a threadbare squad to the United States for their preseason tour with a number of players on holiday following the tournament in Russia.
Seven first-team players including Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku reached at least the semifinals and are set to miss the start of the season after the club granted them three-week breaks.
After the five-game tour of the U.S. and a friendly against Bayern Munich in Germany, United kick-off the new campaign against Leicester City at Old Trafford on Aug. 9.
"I'm worried because I'm not training and then I go to the Premier League without lots of players, but it is what it is and we have to try and make the best out of it with the players we have here," he told a news conference at UCLA.
"I'm not worried about playing Liverpool here or Real Madrid or Milan, I'm not worried if we lose badly.
"The preseason is very bad, the positive thing of the preseason is only for the young boys that have fantastic opportunity to train with us."
David De Gea, Nemanja Matic and new signing Fred are set to join the squad next week, but Mourinho is still without Alexis Sanchez, who is training alone at Carrington after being blocked from entering the U.S. because of visa issues.
Mourinho said United are working to fix the problem but the coach admitted he "doesn't know" when or if the Chilean will arrive.
"It's really bad," he said. "Really sad. It is not good for him, for me, for the team but there is no one to blame.
"The club is making the effort, I have to respect the U.S. authorities in their process of visas but hopefully he joins us later because could be important to work with [Anthony] Martial and [Juan] Mata, which is the players we have in attack for start of the season. No Lukaku, [Jesse] Lingard, no [Marcus] Rashford, so it will be very bad."
Mourinho has added Fred, Diogo Dalot and Lee Grant to his squad this summer but time is running out if he wants to make more new signings with the Premier League transfer window due to close before the start of the season.
The Portuguese coach said he had "no idea" if any more new faces will arrive but hinted the club are working on more deals.
"I'm not going to lie to you, I'm not going to say somebody is coming or nobody is coming," he said. "We did Lee Grant because we have a fantastic young goalkeeper who needs to play football.
"Joel is a Manchester United goalkeeper but two years without football he has to play. And to protect that position we got Lee, experience in Championship, Stoke City in the Premier League, so he is ready to fulfill that position. Joel is here with us, is good for him to play but then he will go on loan.
"Fred we did quite a long time ago, we started the process, we lost Michael Carrick and I think Fred is the kind of player we need to complement the qualities of our midfield players.
"Dalot is injured, a small injury, a small surgery, we didn't want to lose him because of that and he's recovering really well and we think he can start training back in England, not ready for start of the season."
Rob is ESPN FC's Manchester United correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @RobDawsonESPN.
LONDON -- Maurizio Sarri insisted there will be no repeat of the insensitive comments that marred his time at Napoli as he was unveiled as Chelsea's new head coach.
In 2016, Sarri was accused by then-Inter coach Roberto Mancini of using a gay slur in 2016 during a heated Coppa Italia semifinal, and in March responded in a news conference to a question by a female journalist about Napoli's title chances by saying: "You're a woman, you're beautiful, and I won't tell you to [expletive] off for those two reasons."
The Telegraph reported last week that Sarri assured Chelsea before his appointment that he did not hold sexist or homophobic views, and at his unveiling on Wednesday the coach was keen to address the incidents in front of club director Marina Granovskaia and chairman Bruce Buck.
"People make mistakes," he said through a translator. "One of these mistakes was made when I was angry. Another was not even a mistake -- it was a journalist with whom I shared jokes for three years. It was misconstrued.
"These were mistakes, that is for sure. I think those who know me well cannot define me in this way. Homophobic, sexist, racist. Absolutely not. I am an extremely open person, I do not have these kind of problems. I hope I will show this when I am working here and living here.
"These mistakes were made yes, but when someone makes a mistake they must apologise and accept some allegations can be made by the press. A professional and ethical attitude is very important, more than apologies. I hope you will have the chance to get to know you better and forget about this very quickly."
Sarri was confirmed as Chelsea's new coach on a three-year contract last week after Antonio Conte was unceremoniously sacked, his position eventually made untenable by escalating public and private tensions with the board as well as high-profile clashes with senior players in his squad.
Conte's fate despite winning the Premier League and FA Cup in two years at Stamford Bridge reinforced the notion that all managers have a relatively short shelf life at Chelsea, but Sarri insisted he is not concerned by his new club's past record of sackings.
"If I was someone who always worried, probably I would do another job," he added. "Our job means risks, but also a lot of satisfaction. What happened in Chelsea in the past doesn't concern me because I don't know these situations. I'm not afraid and I don't want to be.
"It's true I've not won anything but I've been in Serie A for five years and I think apart from Juventus, no one has won anything. In three years at Napoli we had record points every year."
Liam is ESPN FC's Chelsea correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Liam_Twomey.
Maurizio Sarri insisted that he is not interested in directing Chelsea's transfer policy but indicated that he would like to see both Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois remain at Stamford Bridge this summer.
Antonio Conte was sacked to pave the way for Sarri's appointment last week after months of tensions with the Chelsea board over recruitment, as well as clashes with senior players such as Diego Costa, David Luiz and Willian.
Sarri gained a reputation in Italy for not focusing the transfer market, and in front of watching board members Marina Granovskaia and Bruce Buck, he reiterated that, as head coach, he views his responsibility as to work with his players on the training pitch.
"I feel much more a pitch manager, a field manager than a general manager," he said via a translator. "I think I'm one of the few managers who is bored by the transfer market. I don't want to talk about it and I'm not that interested in it. Our task as managers is growing the players we have."
While Sarri is unlikely to make the kind of waves that Conte did with his pointed comments about Chelsea's shortcomings in the transfer market, he did reveal that he has discussed potential summer targets with the club, focusing on midfield.
Chelsea completed a £50 million deal to sign Italy international playmaker Jorginho at the weekend and are reportedly close to adding Aleksandr Golovin from CSKA Moscow.
"I spoke with the football club and said ideally I think that a pinch of quality is lacking in our central midfield for a certain kind of play, otherwise they are at a very high level," he said. "At the end of the transfers it will be up to me to understand what kind of football is suitable to the final squad.
"I cannot claim to come here and change 20 players. I must adapt to Chelsea and the players, and we will see at the end whether we must change something in my game because of the characteristics of the squad."
Chelsea have big decisions to make in the coming weeks about Hazard and Courtois, who both publicly courted interest from Real Madrid after Belgium's victory over England in the World Cup third-place playoff on Saturday.
Sources have told ESPN FC that Chelsea are focused on keeping Hazard despite his comments and Madrid's interest, and Sarri admitted that he would rather not lose any of the squad's key players before the Aug. 9 transfer deadline.
"Clearly, we would like to keep the strongest players," he said. "This is what any manager wants and any clubs wants. Then we will have to see how the transfer market will go over the next few days."
"I think he [Hazard] is one of the top two or three European players. I hope I will manage to improve him -- this is very difficult given the level he has reached."
Asked if he could improve Hazard in the spectacular way he managed with Dries Mertens at Napoli, Sarri said that it is not the same situation.
"With Mertens it was different -- Dries had also been an external striker and everyone thinks by necessity that he became a very high level player," he said. "Dries has improved with me but he started at a lower level. I hope Hazard will improve with me but it will be difficult."
Liam is ESPN FC's Chelsea correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Liam_Twomey.