Maurizio Sarri and Eden Hazard Chelsea

Sarri: I may give up smoking at Chelsea

Maurizio Sarri smirked as he revealed that he is giving up smoking cigarettes, having been repeatedly questioned on his habit since moving to Chelsea.

UK law has banned smoking in a variety of venues including in football stadiums, restricting the head coach from smoking during match days.

Sarri took his first home game on Saturday seeing his side run out 3-2 winners against Arsenal in the London derby.

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The former Napoli coach was asked whether he wanted a cigarette as Chelsea struggled at the end of the second half, but indicated that now may be the time for him to give up smoking.

"No I needed half-time and the first half to end, not a cigarette," Sarri told reporters. "I am going to stop for just one or two years then I will start again.

"Inside there were 15 minutes that were horrible. We lost ground, we were not able to press, we were not able to defend, we were really in trouble. I think in the second half, we did very well from our mental point of view.

"It was really very hard to answer about the last part of the first half. I prefer to speak about the other 75 minutes, it is better. I remember better the good things instead of the worst."

It is unclear whether Sarri was joking, but his dependence on nicotine remains, as he is seen on the touchline using alternatives to smoking, such as putting a piece of plastic in his mouth to distract from the craving.

Sarri was also probed on how the team is being shaped in his image, as he looks to get his side playing fast and attacking football. The 59 year old admits that they looked close to adapting to his ideology, but they fell short of covering the distance required defensively.

"In terms of quality not too much [more is needed], because in the first 25 minutes we did really very well," Sarri continued. "We moved the ball very quickly, fast, we played vertical balls and we did really very well. So in terms of quality, we are going very well.

Pedro Chelsea 2018-19

"In quantity [of running], we have to improve. We have to improve which I think is normal. We started to work all together just two weeks ago, so my target now is to play 90 minutes like we played our first 25. I think in this way of football, if you don't cover the distances, you are in trouble. I am talking about in my way of football specifically."

Chelsea have won both of their Premier League games under Sarri, but were well beaten against Manchester City in the Community Shield. Their next test will be away at Newcastle United on Sunday afternoon.