Cape Town - Chelsea assistant manager Gianfranco Zola
has admitted that Maurizio Sarri will need time to adapt at the club after a
period of turbulence for the Blues.
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Zola, who played for Chelsea from 1996 to
2003, was brought back to the club as Sarri's right-hand man after the former
Napoli boss replaced Antonio Conte as head coach.
The Blues had already begun their
pre-season preparations when Sarri joined the club, and his appointment
followed a bitter fallout between Chelsea and Conte, who was openly critical of
their transfer policy.
Sarri was still contracted to Napoli even
after being replaced by Carlo Ancelotti, and the London club was thus not
immediately able to bring him on board after he handed over the reins at
Partenopei Gli Azzurri.
"I believe that at the beginning,
everybody in the environment will have to be a little bit patient, because it's
an odd year with the World Cup and with Maurizio coming a week late," Zola
told Chelsea TV.
"With his philosophy, the way he
plays, he will need a little bit of time to settle. As long as the people at
the club have a little bit of patience with him, I am sure they will get what
they are expecting."
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enjoying Sarri's Italian coaching methods
Sarri led Napoli to three consecutive top
three finishes in Serie A, but was unable to break Juventus' dominance. He will
be hoping that at Chelsea, he can convert attractive football into trophies.