Five things to look for as Chelsea visits Newcastle: Fringe player questions

Sunday, 26 Aug, 2018

"So I think it's normal for me".

There will be another fan protest outside Ashley's Sports Direct store in the centre of Newcastle ahead of Sunday's visit of Chelsea to Tyneside, after a summer Newcastle made a profit of nearly £20m in transfer deals.

But it is clear that Sarri wants more of an on-the-ball player to begin the team's attacks at the base of the midfield.

"What I would say is just be sure that when you go to the stadium, you support the team because it's the only way for us to be stronger", Benitez said.

But Sarri said: "I have spoken with him twice this week after I spoke with the club".

So what has Sarri done with Kante upon arriving at Stamford Bridge?

Benitez is well aware of Sarri's qualities, having seen the Italian follow him into the Napoli hot seat and guide the club to three successive top-three finishes.

Asked if he felt De Laurentiis' criticism is fair, Sarri said with a smile: "I don't know". Maybe at the moment, there are three teams that you could say that they are a little bit ahead of the others, for me - Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City - because of the level, the performances past year and the money they spent.

"I think it's easier for the offensive players".

The long-term futures of England duo Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Gary Cahill remain unclear, although Sarri revealed he has held talks with both.

"With Cahill, I think at this moment for a defender it's more hard to play in my team after only 20 days of training", Sarri said. I usually look at the training and then I decide.

The trio were expected to leave on loan in order to get game time but the manager has suggested that they may benefit from staying and learning more from first-team players. "There's a bit of a feeling around Newcastle at the moment, and I think Chelsea will take advantage", he told Sky Sports. "In the future, starting from September, I think we play three times three games a week, so there will be space for everybody".