Maurizio Sarri is “very happy” to be in England, with the Italian picking a surprising highlight from a positive start to his Chelsea reign which has delivered an 18-match unbeaten run.
The Italian tactician was handed the managerial baton at Stamford Bridge over the summer as countryman Antonio Conte headed through the exits.
He did suffer a Community Shield defeat to Manchester City back in August, but has not come unstuck since then in Premier League , Carabao Cup and Europa League competition.
Sarri is delighted with how things are going, given that he had always hoped to work in English football, and has seen plenty of positives from his side.
They have failed to win just four of their competitive fixtures to date, with one of those games – a 1-1 draw against Liverpool at Stamford Bridge back in September – considered to be “the best match so far”.
Sarri told Chelsea’s official website : “I am enjoying working in England as much as I hoped I would because this championship is very competitive and the atmosphere in the stadiums is great.
“So, I am very happy to be in the Premier League. Really very happy.
“Even when a game is close I can enjoy it. I can enjoy if the match is a good match.
“For example, we did not win against Liverpool but I enjoyed the match. It was a very high level, so at the end of the match I was happy with the performance.
“I think that one was the best match so far.
“I think from the tactical point of view, our best performance was at Burnley. But the match was different. I had more fun against Liverpool. Without winning!”
Sarri has always been an admirer of the English top flight and is pleased to be following in the footsteps of fellow Italians who have left a lasting impression at Chelsea.
He added: “When I was young and studying in London for my other work in banking, my experience of watching football in English stadiums was good. I did not see it as aggressive, only when English teams played abroad.
“When I studied in England the atmosphere did not feel threatening. It seemed like fun, it was entertaining, I have always been fascinated by English football.
“I am not surprised it was players from Serie A who improved Chelsea in the 1990s.
“Tactically, Serie A is a championship that is very difficult and so, as a coach, in Serie A you can improve a lot because tactically every match is very interesting, and difficult.
“The coach can improve a lot but also players with a couple of seasons in Serie A can improve a lot.
“In England, football is played at another speed with another intensity, but in Italy the match is difficult from the tactical point of view.”
Sarri appears to have made that transition with ease, with his side set to return to action on Saturday with a derby date against arch-rivals Tottenham at Wembley Stadium.