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'Perfectionist Sarri keeps you alive' - Rudiger prefers new Chelsea boss to Conte

1:22 PM GMT+4 09/09/2018
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The Germany defender knew what to expect when the former Napoli boss arrived in west London and is happy with their progress so far

Working with Maurizio Sarri at Chelsea is proving as much fun as Antonio Rudiger expected, as the defender prefers the new coach's playing style to that of Antonio Conte.

After guiding his pulsating Napoli team to second in Serie A last season, Sarri was lured to London to take over the Blues and restore them as Premier League title challengers in the wake of their fifth place finish under Conte.

Chelsea have a perfect record in the English top flight after four games as Sarri's pass-heavy style begins to take hold and it is going even better than former Roma star Rudiger expected.

"I played for Roma in Italy so I knew the way the manager liked to play and it was something I favoured," he told the Mail on Sunday. "He wants us to press high compared to last season when everyone knows we sat back.

"Now it is different. We create a lot of chances and for me that's very good. Mostly he likes the defenders to play the ball short and keep possession.

"I have shown so far I can do it but I want to improve every day. He is a coach who is not happy, he is always saying you can do better, and that keeps you alive.

"To be honest, I'm surprised how well we've done because players like Eden Hazard and N'Golo Kante had big World Cups and came back late for training. They are in good shape and that's impressive."

Pedro and Eden Hazard have been supplying the goals in the league so far for Sarri's team, as regular striker Alvaro Morata has netted just one of their 10 goals.

Olivier Giroud is available as backup for the Spaniard and has been coming off the bench in recent weeks, and Rudiger believes the former Arsenal star can be key for his side this term.

"I like [Giroud] as a striker, he is tough and loves to use his body. Alvaro trained the whole pre-season when Giroud was late after the World Cup. But Olivier can be very important for us like he was at the end of last season. If he starts scoring, it will be a good competition for them," he added.

Rudiger came up against a global star in the form of Kylian Mbappe on Thursday as Germany drew 0-0 with France. While the hype around the World Cup winning 19-year-old is constantly growing, Rudiger says he plays with a better player on a weekly basis.

"Mbappe is unbelievably fast, really good," he said. "To stop him, you have to do it as a team because alone, good luck! But for me the best in the world is Messi, then Hazard."