Maurizio Sarri insists there is still more to come from Chelsea following their 3-0 win at Huddersfield on the opening weekend of the Premier League.
Chelsea had to dig deep early on against Huddersfield but went in at the break with a two-goal cushion thanks to N’Golo Kante and summer signing Jorginho.
Pedro wrapped up a 3-0 opening-day win after Eden Hazard came off the bench as Sarri’s men made a confident start to the campaign, looking far stronger compared to last weekend’s Community Shield loss to Manchester City.
“I’m very happy for the three points,” Sarri told Sky Sports. “For us, in this first part of the championship, it’s not very easy to gain points. I think in this moment we are not at the top of our potential.
“The first half was hard. If you look at the result, you can think about an easy game, but in the first half, we were in trouble for 15 minutes against a very physical team.
“We are not a physical team and I think the best of the game is the capacity of suffering for 15 minutes. Then I think in the second half the opponents were a bit tired and it was easier.”
Just 28 days after being belatedly confirmed as Antonio Conte’s successor, Sarri got his first taste of the English top flight in West Yorkshire.
Huddersfield could have been a baptism of fire for Sarri and the club’s new signings including Kepa Arrizabalaga, who this week became the most expensive goalkeeper in history.
“From the physical point of view, it’s different,” the Chelsea boss said, comparing the Premier League to Serie A.
“For the referees, it is different. Really different. Today with an Italian referee maybe there were 15 fouls more than with this referee.”
Asked if he can replicate Napoli’s style at Chelsea, Sarri, added: “No, I have to know the characteristics of the players because I think I don’t want to do another Naples.
“I want to do a good Chelsea. I have to respect the characteristics of the players, I have to adapt myself to the characteristics of the championship and of the players, so now I am studying my players.”
Hazard started the game on the bench following his World Cup excursions but was brought on for the final 14 minutes, setting up Pedro for Chelsea’s third.
When asked if he was always going to give Hazard game time, he said: “Yes, at this moment he cannot play 90 minutes so he came on in the last 20 minutes when the opponents may be tired.”