English Premiership

Sarri: Chelsea need to improve passing speed

Maurizio Sarri (Getty Images)
Maurizio Sarri (Getty Images)

Cape Town - Maurizio Sarri has urged his Chelsea players to improve the speed at which they move the ball following their International Champions Cup penalty shootout win over Inter Milan.

Chelsea opened the scoring through Pedro only to have that goal cancelled out by Roberto Gagliardini. However, the Blues won 5-4 on penalties, with Cesar Azpilicueta slotting home the decisive spot-kick.

"I am satisfied, said Sarri, according to Chelsea's official website. "So far I am satisfied. I am of course waiting for the other players from the World Cup to return, but the players gave me total availability.

"I am satisfied and I saw in the match some things that we have tried in the training sessions. So far, so good!"

However, he also offered some constructive criticism for his side. Having praised the "mental speed" of new signing Jorginho, he said: "All over the pitch though we move the ball very quickly and we moved it well tonight, but not at the right speed.

"You have to move the ball at a great speed on the floor. Otherwise we risk to play for 90 minutes with 75 per cent ball possession but without scoring. That's what we need to improve on."

Long renowned for their solid defence, Chelsea face the challenge of adapting to Sarri's Guardiola-esque style of play, which places an emphasis on passing.

They will face Arsenal at the Aviva Stadium on Wednesday before the Community Shield clash against Manchester City at Wembley on Sunday.

The Blues will concede their pre-season at Stamford Bridge against Lyon on 7 August before kicking off their Premier League campaign against Huddersfield Town four days later.

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