The FA Community Shield

New Chelsea boss explains 'fun' football, friendship with Pep and Wembley excitement

It's been a busy summer so far for new Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri, who joined the Blues from Napoli in June. Ahead of Sunday's FA Community Shield game with Manchester City at Wembley, the Italian sat down to speak to the official programme.

Friday 03 Aug 2018
Maurizio Sarri takes his side into Sunday's Community Shield at Wembley Stadium

Maurizio, you are about to begin your first season in English football. What attracted you to Chelsea this summer?

It was a very easy decision. At the moment the Premier League is the most important championship in the world and Chelsea is one of the most important clubs on the planet, so it was a very easy decision.

Chelsea v Manchester City
  • The FA Community Shield supported by McDonald's
  • 3pm, Sunday 5 August 2018
  • Wembley connected by EE
  • Live on BT Sport

You have stated that you will be facing some of the biggest clubs and managers every week in England, starting with Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City on Sunday. What sort of challenge do you expect them to pose?

Manchester City, I think, is the best team at the moment. The gap last season between City and Chelsea was 30 points and so I think it will be a very difficult match for us. They have worked together for two years with the same coach and we have worked together for only a few weeks. But we have to try to do our best, we have to try to win.

Do you have a close relationship with Guardiola?

He is a friend, so I respect him as a person first of all, and as a coach I respect him for the work he has done at City, and also in Munich and Barcelona. I think he is one of the best coaches in the world – maybe the best now. Two months ago, we went to Milan to see Arrigo Sacchi and we had dinner together – me, Pep and Arrigo. It was a very, very fun dinner and to stay there and hear Arrigo speak is always exceptional.

Sarri and Guardiola have previously crossed paths before and count each other as friends


In terms of ambitions, do you set targets for yourself and your teams? What would they be for Chelsea right now?

I’d like to win everything, but I know that here in England it is not possible. The target for Chelsea is, for sure, to win something, but I think the most important target is to be able to reach our 101 per cent.

You have said that you will play your football and bring ‘fun’ to Chelsea. What constitutes fun football?

I think it is very fun to have control of the ball, to have control of the match, to have possession of the ball, because players always want to be involved in the game. An involved player is a happier player, but collective enjoyment is much stronger than individual enjoyment and it’s contagious as well.

Are you looking forward to leading the team out at Wembley for the Community Shield today?

It’s my first time at Wembley, so I’m looking forward to the match. To go to Wembley with our team is very exciting.

Sarri has enjoyed working with his squad in pre-season since taking over at Stamford Bridge


You can read the full interview with Maurizio Sarri in Sunday’s match programme, which will be available at Wembley or you can order a copy online.

The FA Community Shield has a long history of raising money for charity and community programmes. This season, tickets across both general admission and hospitality areas have been distributed to a number of community groups.

In addition, all clubs who participated in last season’s Emirates FA Cup competition proper will receive £2000 to distribute to a nominated charity, with both Chelsea and Manchester City receiving a further £25,000 for the same purpose. All other profits from the event will be distributed to a number of charitable causes later on this year.

By FA Staff