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'Sarri loves his work to point of madness!' - De Laurentiis hopes Chelsea keep under-fire coach

15:51 GMT+3 23/02/2019
Maurizio Sarri Chelsea 2018-19
The Blues boss is clinging to his job but his former employer hopes the club give him more time to whip them back into shape

Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis hopes Maurizio Sarri can escape the sack at Chelsea, saying the coach loves his job "to the point of madness".

Pressure is building on the Italian in his first season at Stamford Bridge, as Goal understands the board have given him just a few games to salvage his position in the wake of heavy defeats to Manchester City and Bournemouth.

Chelsea sit fifth in the Premier League and were eliminated from the FA Cup by Manchester United on Monday, but they are still in contention for the Carabao Cup, facing Manchester City in the final on Sunday, and the Europa League, having been drawn with Dynamo Kiev in the last-16.

Napoli were paired with Red Bull Salzburg in the continental competition and could face Chelsea and their former boss Sarri along the way if they progress.

De Laurentiis would be happy to come up against his old employee as he hopes the London club give the 60-year-old a chance to keep doing what he loves.

"It would be fun to play Chelsea in the final, assuming of course that Sarri can hang on that long!" he told Sky Sport Italia.

"I hope he does stay there and do very well, because Sarri loves his work to the point of madness. At times this can lead him to lose his temper, but that is to be respected.

"Sarri gave a great deal to Napoli. Some might not always be able to share his vision of football, but we all have our strengths and weaknesses, otherwise we would not be human."

The president is still eager to guide Napoli to a first league title in 29 years, but his side currently sit 13 points behind reigning champions Juventus.

The Serie A leaders completed the blockbuster signing of Ronaldo from Real Madrid last July and he has rewarded them with 19 league goals in his debut season so far.

De Laurentiis dismissed the notion of Napoli making a similar trademark transfer in pursuit of trophies, saying: "There is this habitual feeling of the fans being disappointed in the stadium. We'll fight to the end.

"If someone falters at the first hurdle, then he is a failure in life. If he doesn't want to be a failure, he keeps fighting to the end. It's not just he who finishes first that wins. We all win if we play with capability and fervour.

"Sorry, but if I had created a €200 million debt to sign one player, what would be the point in winning? Let's think of the right recipe for success.

"I think we have a very big squad, Carlo Ancelotti experiments with the whole team. He will evaluate the level of the players. There are those who are able to interpret his instructions, others with less capacity, those who have played with greater and less intensity. We will make our own deductions and carry the project forward which is always going to improve."