Maurizio Sarri says Gonzalo Higuain will provide more than just goals for Chelsea after his arrival on loan last week.
Higuain hit the ground running with two goals on his Premier League debut in Chelsea’s 5-0 thrashing of Huddersfield, but Sarri has the bigger picture in mind for the Argentine forward ahead of this weekend’s trip to champions Manchester City.
Much has been made of the role provided by another Chelsea forward, Olivier Giroud, as a link-up player with top goalscorer Eden Hazard, but Sarri says the incoming Higuain, who was coached by the Italian for a single season at Napoli in 2015/16, can act as a foil for the midfielder as well as finding the back of the net.
“Gonzalo is a great player, a great striker,” Sarri told Sky Sports. “He did very well in Madrid, in Naples, with Juventus. He arrived very motivated, and I think he will be very useful for us.
Sarri has admitted he is at a loss to motivate his players at times since joining Chelsea in the summer, leading them to lose 2-0 at Arsenal in January, before a 4-0 thrashing by Bournemouth later in the month.
They responded to that last defeat with their own big win over Huddersfield, but Sarri remains unsatisfied until he sees consistency in his camp.
He said: “After the match against Huddersfield, I was really very happy with the result and performance, but I know now we need consistency. We have to stay at this same level of performance for a long time, especially mentally.
“We did nothing differently to prepare. We worked about offensive movements because we did something wrong in the offensive movement in the first half at Bournemouth, but the second was a disaster in the defensive phase. But I wanted to start from the first half.
“This season, we have had the wrong approach in some very important matches – Arsenal, Tottenham. So I want to answer whether the players need motivation for this game after the match!”
Mbappe vs Giroud: Pogba clears air on ‘rift’ between France teammates
France midfielder, Paul Pogba, has cleared the air on a ‘rift’ between teammates, Kylian Mbappe and Olivier Giroud.
Recall that Mbappe felt ‘attacked’ and ‘angry’ following Giroud’s comments that he was unhappy with France’s lack of cohesion in attack after Didier Deschamps’s side defeated Bulgaria 3-0 in their final Euro 2020 warm-up game on Tuesday evening.
Reacting to the development, Pogba insisted that there is a ‘great atmosphere’ in the French camp ahead of their Euro 2020 campaign.
Asked whether there has been any tension or rift between Giroud and Mbappe, Pogba told a pre-match press conference ahead of the Euro 2020 campaign: “No, the only tension is on the back and legs!
“There is always a great atmosphere with everyone. Between Olivier and Kylian, there is nothing. Or at least there has been nothing in front of me.
“Maybe what was said was conveyed incorrectly,” he added.
France kicks off their Euro 2020 campaign against Germany next Tuesday.
The World Cup champions will also face Portugal and Hungary in Group F.
Transfer: Giroud welcome to join me at AC Milan – Ibrahimovic
Ferdinand, Shearer, Lineker predict Euro 2020 winner
Alan Shearer, Rio Ferdinand and Gary Lineker have all predicted that France will win Euro 2020.
The French will expect to add a continental triumph to their World Cup success.
Dider Deschamps’ team conquered the world in Russia three years ago, with the squad still boasting of Paul Pogba, Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann and N’Golo Kante.
Karim Benzema has also returned from a five-year exile to add more strength to the already deadly attack.
UCL: Lineker, others praise Chelsea’s Mason after 2-0 win over Porto
“France to win it. They have got talent all over the pitch,” Shearer told the BBC.
Ferdinand added: “France have got the most depth and the most talent, that is why they are my favourites.”
Lineker however believes defending champions Portugal could yet retain their crown, but has still backed Les Bleus.
“It’s hard to look beyond France – they were losing finalists five years ago, they won the World Cup three years ago and now they have Karim Benzema too.
“They will be improved and they have brilliant young players too. They have to be favourites.
“Portugal are not exactly an outsider because they won the thing four years ago but they have a very good team and they will have a chance,” he said.
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