The biggest tactical start of the Blues this season was at home against Pep Guardiola's team and now they are preparing for the second round at Etihad Stadium
Maurizio Sarri thinks about the way in which Pep Guardiola's Manchester City forced Chelsea to change tactics, bringing Eden Hazard to play in the central role of the striker.
Hazard has expressed his preference for playing as a wing in the past, but Sarri likes to move the Belgian to the center in games where his team can not dominate possession as they usually do.
Chelsea beat City 2-0 at home in December when Hazard played the role of "false 9" and, ahead of Sunday's trip to Etihad Stadium, Sarri hinted at another tactical change against the team by Pep Guardiola.
"At the moment the situation is different, we have another striker [Higuain instead of Morata]", Sarri told reporters at Cobham Training Center." We can take another decision, but I do not know, maybe we'll play with a 'false nine'. I must decide.
"The situation is not like in the other game, so I can decide something different or have a" fake 9 ". I expect Guardiola's team always wants control of the game, always in possession of the ball and I am able to foul, so it is a very difficult match.
"We are used to having the ball and possession then, Sunday, it will be very different, maybe we will have to defend ourselves further down. [In December] they were able to press us in our half. It was not a choice. It was a necessity. So, I think Sunday will be the same.
"You know very well that the Manchester City midfield is one of the best in the world, not just Fernandinho, but also Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva and David Silva. Technically, they are the best midfielders in Europe at the moment, so it will be very difficult to have control of the match.
"We will try to play our football, but if they are able to play their football, obviously, you have to stay lower, in the first match we were lucky to score, therefore, especially the first 20, 25 minutes in the second half, there they gave spaces, so it was a little easier. "
Jorginho will be at the center of the battle in midfield and Guardiola has instructed the city to try to sign the international of Italy in the summer, only for Chelsea which earned him 57 million pounds in the contract to also bring Sarri into home from Naples.
The midfielder has struggled since he arrived in England, being scored by the man with a successful lineup, but Sarri thinks that the 27 year old will improve, since Chelsea starts to become more skilled in the system dubbed "Sarriball".
"I remember that in Naples it was not a big deal if there was a man on Jorginho, so I hope he will be the same here in the future," he added.
Chelsea scored a 5-0 victory over Huddersfield in their last league game, but the game against City is just one of many tough games in a busy month.
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Seven games in February include two meetings with City, including the final of the Carabao Cup, while the draw of the fifth round of the FA Cup will see them with Manchester United. Sarri's team also have a league match against Tottenham, and even the knockout phase of the Europa League will begin.
The 60-year-old believes that the list of meetings this month has become unfavorable by his side and admits that it will be a struggle to cope with the workload.
"Yes, I think so, especially if you have to play very expensive games – two against City, one against Tottenham, one against Manchester United," he concluded. "Then, the Europa League. ;too much. "