Maurizio Sarri: 'I deserve to stay'

Author: BBC Sport
Maurizio Sarri had never won a major trophy before, having spent much of his career in Italy's lower league

Maurizio Sarri says he will speak to Chelsea about his future after leading them to the Europa League and thinks he "deserves" to stay with the club.

The Blues beat Arsenal 4-1 in Baku to secure the first major trophy of the Italian's managerial career.

"I need to talk to the club and make sure I know what I can do for Chelsea and what Chelsea can do for me," said Sarri, who took charge last July.

"I love the Premier League and I'm lucky I'm at Chelsea but at the end of each season you have to sit down and talk.

"In my opinion, I deserve to stay at Chelsea but my opinion is not enough."

Sarri's future has been the subject of debate all season, despite reaching two cup finals - they lost the Carabao Cup on penalties to Manchester City in February - and qualifying for next season's Champions League.

The former Napoli boss, who has been linked with the vacant Juventus job recently, added: "I have a contract [for another two years]. At the moment, we are talking about nothing."

Sarri, 60, has spent most of his career managing in the Italian lower leagues before an impressive - albeit trophy-less - three years at Napoli.

"I'm very, very happy but I think the trophy is very important for the club; it's less important the name of the players, the name of the coach," he said.

"The first half was difficult, match number 64 this season and hot - it was physically difficult to play. I thought we were trying to manage the result. I asked my players to play with more courage, even if they risked losing."

The Italian says the turning point of the season came in February. Chelsea lost 6-0 to Manchester City to drop down to sixth place with 12 games remaining. Two weeks later they lost the EFL Cup final to City, with Sarri apparently undermined when goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga refused to come off despite appearing to be injured.

But he dealt with the Kepa situation and the Blues only lost two of their final 12 Premier League games to finish third.

"Our feeling was that we deserved to win because we were in trouble in January and February and we acted," Sarri said.

"In the Premier League, it is not easy to react because the level is very high.

"Something changed at the beginning of February. We lost 6-0 at Manchester City but we started something different.

"At the end, we got the Champions League [place] through the Premier League, we played the final in the League Cup, we qualified [for that final with wins en route] against Liverpool and Tottenham, the finalists of the Champions League, and lost on penalties to Manchester City."