'Guardiola warned me over Premier League move' -Sarri

Getty Images
The ex-Napoli boss spoke with his counterpart before making the switch to England but insists that he feels "lucky" to be in charge of the Blues

New Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri has admitted that he was cautioned by Pep Guardiola over the standard of football in the Premier League.

Sarri has replaced Antonio Conte at the helm of the Stamford Bridge club this summer and on Sunday will play his first competitive fixture with his new side as they tackle Manchester City in the Community Shield.

In the opposite dugout, meanwhile, will be the Catalan, who he consulted with before electing to make the move from Napoli.

The 59-year-old has admitted that the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss told him there would be difficulties but urged him to take the move.

“Guardiola told me here in England that it is very difficult, the level is very high,” he said. “He had some problems in the first season, but he said that football is football everywhere. 

“Sure, he said: ‘Come to England’ - every coach in this moment wants to work in England. The Premier League is the best league in the world. I am very lucky to be here.”

While the Community Shield may be dismissed by some as little more than a glamorised pre-season friendly, Sarri is not adopting that attitude before Sunday’s fixture.

“I think it is very important to start with a trophy,” he said. “It is important also to step forward. For me, clearly, it is important to win something.”

Article continues below

Indeed, he is acutely aware that his long-term future hinges on being able to win silverware for his new side.

“It depends on the club [how long I will stay],” he said.

“If I want to stay here for 10 years, then I have to win. Then it depends on the club but I want to stay here for a long time.