Sacked Conte thanks players, staff and fans

Sarri sees possibilities, but with Chelsea playing catch up, City, Manchester United, Tottenham and Liverpool strengthening and Arsenal under new management, the challenge is greater now.

Recall that Chelsea had on Saturday unveiled Sarri as their new head coach on a three-year deal after sacking Antonio Conte.

And forcing a player into seeing out the last two years of a contract they wilfully signed should a transfer fall through doesn't seem like much of a punishment in the grand scheme of things either - pretty much par for the course, in fact.

"It will be for me very exciting to play against Guardiola, Pochettino, Mourinho, Klopp and the others".

Maurizio Sarri is now clear to take over from Conte with just 28 days until the start of the new Premier League season.

Also, Napoli thrilled audiences across Italy and Europe with their fluid attacking football, with the two 4-1 results against Lazio and the 1-0 victory against Juve highlighting Sarri's tactical nous.

Former Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri replaces Antonio Conte as Chelsea head coach

Sarri signs a three-year contract, having left his former employers after a long drawn out saga surrounding his contract.

"First of all I want to play my football, I want to enjoy myself", he said.

Conte joined Chelsea in 2016 and led them to the league title in his debut season along with an FA Cup triumph last campaign. The problem is that in England there are another five or six very good teams. I was lucky to transport my idea of football onto the pitch, with the quality of these players.

Conte thanked his players, staff and the Blues fans - and perhaps the omission of the Chelsea board and owner Roman Abramovich was deliberate and notable.

A slow start to the season could prove costly for Chelsea's hopes of returning to the top four in a Premier League that is more competitive than ever at the top end, but Sarri insisted that the prospect of battling the coaching luminaries in charge of the Blues' main rivals motivates him.

"I have enjoyed my time in England and London so much and I want to thank the Chelsea fans who have been fantastic to me and my family".

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