Talk Sport

Gianfranco Zola EXCLUSIVE: Italian explains ‘painful’ Chelsea exit and says the club should have kept Maurizio Sarri as manager

Gianfanco Zola has told talkSPORT about his ‘painful’ Chelsea departure and believes the club should have kept Maurizio Sarri on board as manager.

The Blues announced last week that Zola had left the club, losing his role as assistant manager after fellow Italian Sarri was appointed the new manager of Juventus.

Gianfranco Zola has left Chelsea following the departure of Maurizio Sarri

Frank Lampard has been confirmed as Sarri’s replacement and is expected to bring in his own coaching team from Derby County, including ex-Chelsea team-mate and academy coach Jody Morris – leaving no room for Zola.

The Stamford Bridge hero joined the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast on Monday to discuss his exit, saying he ‘respects’ the club’s decision.

However, he believes Chelsea would have benefitted from keeping Sarri as boss for longer than just one season.

Zola told talkSPORT: “Obviously it’s painful because you’re in a place where you like to be and it means a lot to you.

“Of course, it’s always painful, but we have to be professional and I think Chelsea are looking forward, they made other choices and I respect them, I have no problem with that.”

Asked if would have liked to have stayed at Chelsea, the Italian added: “Yes, very much.

“I think the best of Maurizio’s work comes not in the first year but more from the second year onwards.

Zola believes Chelsea should have kept Sarri for longer than just one season

“Looking at the way he works, it takes a little bit of time to put in place what he wants to do and also he is very demanding on the players.

“But, after the players get used to it, they get better and better and the work becomes more effective.

“It’s a pity, because I think it would have been good for the club if Maurizio stayed and it would have been good for Maurizio as well.”


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