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'I don't care if fans boo me, Chelsea are training harder than ever before' - Sarri

01:30 GMT+3 27/02/2019
Maurizio Sarri, Chelsea presser
A fine start to life in the Premier League has turned sour for the Italian boss, whose Blues side courted even more controversy in Sunday's cup clash

Maurizio Sarri has called on Chelsea fans to give more support to their players and insists that the atmosphere in the camp remains positive, despite doubts over his long-term future and Kepa Arrizabalaga's refusal to leave the field in the Carabao Cup final.

Arrizabalaga has since been fined one week's wages and apologised after he left Willy Caballero waiting on the touchline, sparking a furious reaction from his manager in the penalty shoot-out defeat to Manchester City on Sunday.

The Blues boss says he wants to put the incident behind them and spoke to the club's director Marina Graniskovaia, insisting that the dressing room atmosphere at the club remains positive ahead of another massive game against Tottenham.

“I spoke with Marina this week, before the final, just for good luck. I spoke to Marina after the match about the Kepa situation. My relationship with the club is like before,” Sarri said.

“The goalkeeper is not a problem. He made a big mistake, but he is really a very nice boy. There is only one difficulty: the results. The atmosphere in the training ground is now very good. The application of the players is better than before.

"I think Willy Caballero is a very good goalkeeper and he's a great man. He is a point of reference in the dressing room for his personality, for his behaviour, for everything.

"He has the maturity to be ready for anything. The problem now is to have results with consistency. We know the situation. It's difficult to play every three days with the same mental intensity.

"It's not easy because, usually, we talk about physical condition, that it is very difficult to play every three days. But the big problem is mental, to play every match with the same level of application and determination is very difficult.

"We have to do it tomorrow because this is a very important match. A very difficult match. Tottenham are playing very well away from home. It's not easy to play with the same level of application as in the last match because, mentally, we spent a lot in the match on Sunday.”

Chelsea's match at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday is their first in the Premier League after four consecutive cup games in the Carabao Cup, Europa League and FA Cup.

Sarri reiterated that he thought his side played well against Manchester United in the 2-0 FA Cup defeat despite chants of "f*** Sarriball" that emanated from Stamford Bridge's Matthew Harding End.

The 60-year-old says those chants have no effect on him but that they do hurt his players, with Jorginho having been booed coming onto the pitch against Malmo in the Europa League.

"I was disappointed with the atmosphere for my players. Only for my players. But I can understand the fans because they are used to winning. I'd like to see more support for my players, not for me.”

Chelsea have also had news from FIFA, who have imposed a two-window transfer ban on incoming players. The club are appealing the decision, and the appeals process is likely to leave them in a position to sign players at least in the summer.

However, it will still ultimately prove a blow to whoever manages Chelsea in the long-term with no room to manoeuvre in the transfer market. Sarri is keeping the issue out of his mind, but also says that he believes the club will be okay to make signings in the summer.

“I don't know the situation well, but I know the club are working," he added. "So I think they can solve this problem. Maybe for this summer, maybe not. But they are working. I think that, first of all, we need to improve these players.

"Because we cannot buy 20 players in the market because they aren't 20 players ready for Chelsea in the market. It's very difficult to find a player ready immediately for this level, so I think the first target is to improve these players."