<
>

Sarri holds Chelsea preseason talks; prefers feeling 'nervous' rather than relaxed

play
Premier League: 23 goals in 90 seconds (1:29)

Check out all 23 goals in the Premier League from this weekend, including Romelu Lukaku's winner for Man United, Jorginho's curler for Chelsea and more. (1:29)

Maurizio Sarri said he has held discussions with Chelsea about preparations for next season, but wants to remain "nervous" rather than "relaxed" about his future about the club.

Back-to-back Premier League victories over Tottenham and Fulham have revived Chelsea's faltering challenge for a top-four finish and eased the pressure on Sarri, who survived a defining week last month following a limp FA Cup exit at home to Manchester United.

Sarri said he spoke to Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia before and after Chelsea's defeat on penalties against Manchester City in the Carabao Cup final, and that preseason arrangements were a topic of discussion.

"We were talking about the problem of the next preseason," Sarri said of his meeting with Granovskaia in a news conference to preview Thursday's clash with Dynamo Kiev in the Europa League round of 16. "So we were trying to organise in the best way the next preseason."

Chelsea announced in November that they will play the first friendly of their preseason for the 2019-20 campaign in Japan, and sources have told ESPN FC that J.League champions Kawasake Frontale are being considered as potential opponents.

Asked if that conversation is why he appears more relaxed about his future at Chelsea, Sarri replied with a laugh: "I don't want to be relaxed. I want to be nervous.

"I have to think about a very important match tomorrow, and then another after 62 or 63 hours in the Premier League. So I don't want to be relaxed.

"It's not important if I'm here next season. At this moment, it's important only the results. In this moment, only the Europa League is important. In this moment, the Dynamo Kiev [match] is everything.

"I am confident otherwise I won't be able to do my work. I have to think this [that I will be here next season] if I want to do my job in the best way."

The Europa League presents an alternative path to Champions League qualification for Chelsea and as such Sarri is determined to take the competition seriously, but the he also said that he will be forced to make changes to the team that he will be forced to make changes to the team that beat Fulham on Sunday due to tired legs.

"We are lucky and have no injuries," Sarri said. "We have some players very tired because the last week was really very hard for us.

"We started with 130 minutes in the [Carabao Cup] final, so it was really very hard. We need to consider the situation very well and rest some players, I think."

Callum Hudson-Odoi scored twice for Chelsea in the Europa League group stage, and there have been calls for the 18-year-old to be given more time on the pitch to contribute in the final stretch of the season as the club attempt to convince him to spurn interest from Bayern Munich.

Sarri, however, said he wants to manage expectations regarding the young winger.

"Callum is always in my mind in every match," he said. "I don't know if he will be on the pitch or not tomorrow.

"I think also that you [the media] have to put less pressure on the young English players. Because they need to improve. I have never seen a player of 18 at the top, so Callum, like all the other young players in England, needs to improve in this moment. That's very important for him at this moment.

"Then he will be able to be at the top when he is 22 or 23 without pressure at the moment. I think you put too much pressure on the young English players."