What you need to know about new Chelsea coach Antonio Conte

He’s been described by Pep Guardiola as “one of the absolute best” and has promised to bring the “fun” back to Chelsea, but what do you need to know about Maurizio Sarri?

The Italian took charge at Chelsea on July 14 after three seasons with Napoli where he launched title challenges against Juventus and was named coach of the year.

But what will he bring to the Premier League? How good is his record? And how will Chelsea play under him? We take a look.

After hopping around lower-league clubs in Italy, it was at Napoli, the city of his birth, where Sarri made his name.

In three seasons with Napoli, Sarri secured two runners-up finishes and one third-place finish. In 2015/16 they were “Winter Champions” (top of the table at the winter break) for the first time in 26 years and from 2016/17 to 2017/18 they won a club-record 13 league games in a row.

Although Sarri could not ultimately end Juventus’ Serie A dominance, he won coach of the year in 2016/17 and his side were lauded for their free-flowing and attacking play.

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino said earlier this year that “Sarri’s side play the most beautiful football in Europe”.

What’s his style?
Sarri is all about the details.

Former Chelsea midfielder Nathaniel Chalobah spent a year playing under Sarri on loan at Napoli in 2015/16, and explained why the players performed so well.

“Playing under him was very easy as he puts out every single detail you need to know as a player,” Chalobah told The Totally Italian Football Show podcast.

“You might be a right-back and want to know what foot is this player and does he cut in. The manager will tell you.

“We grabbed a Champions League spot the year I was there. It was a great season and that was because of the details we had going into every single game were top notch.”

Jorginho, who has also joined Chelsea from Napoli, gives a similar insight.

“He is someone who does wonderful work, he is right on top of everything that is happening on the pitch,” he said. “When the weekend comes around and you have a game, you start that game knowing how every situation is going to pan out on the field offensively and defensively, and that is something that really helps you in your work.”

Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly, meanwhile, has described Sarri as a “genius”.

“He sees things others don’t see. He makes you understand how football is and isn’t unpredictable. He’s a scholar,” Koulibaly said.

How will Chelsea line up?
“Fun” was one of the buzz words in Sarri’s first press conference as Chelsea head coach.

“We must start by having fun,” he said. “Which is important for us and our fans. I really hope the Chelsea fans will see entertaining football.”

While Chelsea played a 3-4-3 formation under previous head coach Antonio Conte, Sarri’s preferred line-up was a 4-3-3 at Napoli. How that is going to work at Chelsea remains to be seen.

Barring more signings or departures, the defence could be Marcos Alonso and Davide Zappacosta at full-back and then Cesar Azpilicueta and David Luiz in the middle. The midfield trio is expected to be Jorginho, N’Golo Kante and Cesc Fabregas/Tiemoue Bakayoko/Ruben Loftus-Cheek. Then Eden Hazard, Willian and Alvaro Morata could spearhead the attack.Without several of the players mentioned above, Sarri lined up with Zappacosta, Luiz, Ethan Ampadu and Alonso in defence for his first pre-season game against Perth Glory on Monday. Fabregas, Jorginho and Ross Barkley were in midfield with Callum Hudson-Odoi, Morata, Pedro up front.

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