Sarri reveals Benitez is part of the reason he became Chelsea manager

Sarri reveals Benitez is part of the reason he became Chelsea manager

- Chelsea manager has revealed why he has so much respect for Rafa Benitez

- Both managers will be at the opposing dug-outs when Chelsea take on Newcastle

- The Blues will be looking to maintain his flawless start in the Premier League

New Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has admitted he owes Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez a debt of gratitude.

The 59-year-old took over from Benitez at Napoli in 2015 and led them to a second place finish behind champions Juventus last season.

It was that success which led Chelsea to turn to Sarri, to replace Antonio Conte this summer.

Sarri insists he will get the chance to show his appreciation when the Blues travel to Tyneside to face Benitez’s Newcastle on Sunday.

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“I have to say thank you to Rafa because when I arrived in Naples I had a feeling the team was almost ready to play my football,” he said.

“If I arrived after another coach maybe for me it was more difficult, so I have to say thank you to him.

“I know he is a very good coach.

We know on Sunday it will be very difficult for us.

“These opponents are very dangerous for us. Last season we lost 3-0, Manchester United lost there, Arsenal lost there, so we know it will be a very difficult day.”

The Italian tactician is a heavy smoker but there is also another habit he cannot give up – his four-man defence.

His side looked frail at the back at times during the 3-2 win over Arsenal last weekend at Stamford Bridge.

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Yet although Conte led Chelsea to the title in 2017 after switching to five at the back, Sarri will not follow suit.

“Have we worked on defence this week? Every week,” he said.

“I am not worried about the defence. When I arrive in a new team usually I have problems with the defensive base for two months, so it’s not a problem.

“I am not able to play with five defenders.

"We are trying to defend by looking only at the ball and if I defend with five defenders I lose metres on the pitch.

“I’m not able. I tried it five years ago but it’s not my way.”

Meanwhile, had earlier reported that Chelsea captain Gary Cahill is set to move to Turkish champions, Galatasary if an agreement is reached by both clubs, Turkish Football report.

Galatasaray president Mustafa Cengiz and Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia are locked in talks over the potential transfer as the Turkish club are keen to sign a central defender before the transfer window closes on September 1.

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