LONDON (Reuters) – Chelsea’s new manager Maurizio Sarri said he expects Willian to stay at the club and that there is “no problem” with the Brazil midfielder who turned up five days late for training.
Willian arrived back late from his close season break and only joined his team mates at the club’s training ground on Wednesday, four days before Chelsea face Manchester City in the Community Shield at Wembley Stadium.
“I spoke yesterday with him about him being late, not his future,” Sarri told a news conference on Friday.
“It was a very positive conversation and I am very happy about it. There is no Willian problem.”
Asked if he expects the 29-year-old to be part of his midfield this season, Sarri said: “Yes I do. Very confident.”
The Italian was less sure about the future of goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois who is also on the radar of Real Madrid.
“Courtois is the goalkeeper of the club, I don’t know in the future, it depends on the club, and especially on him I think. I hope Courtois will be our goalkeeper,” he said.
The Wembley clash with last season’s runaway Premier League winners will give Sarri a taste of what to expect over the next nine months. It will also be his first experience of England’s iconic stadium.
“I am looking forward to playing in Wembley, it is my first time. The match will be very difficult for us,” he said.
“I want to win, because it is very important to have a trophy immediately. At this point of the season it is important the performance, we have to improve up close.”
Sarri conceded the game is probably a bit early for his squad, many of whom are not yet up to match speed.
“Of course the players have not got the top level now, a lot of trainings and travels and matches,” the Italian said.
“We are not at the top level now but we have to try to have a good performance and result.”
(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Christian Radnedge)