Maurizio Sarri has dedicated Chelsea’s Europa League victory to the fans of former club Napoli.
Chelsea secured silverware for the third consecutive season with a final win over London rivals Arsenal in Baku on Wednesday night, Olivier Giroud, Pedro and an Eden Hazard brace sealing a 4-1 win.
Sarri admits he was pleased with his debut season at Stamford Bridge, having secured Champions League football and reached two cup finals.
“We had a good season, because we earned our place in the Champions League via the Premier League, which was not an easy task considering the high overall level,” Sarri told Sky Sports Italia.
“We reached the League Cup Final after knocking out Liverpool and Tottenham, only lost on penalties to Manchester City. In the Europa League we won 12 and drew three, we scored more than anyone else.
“I think after tonight our season goes from good to extraordinary. It was not easy to arrive and settle quickly in such a difficult league. I had some problems, but from February onwards I saw something change in the rapport with the team. Maybe I changed too, but I am starting to feel like this team is mine.”
Sarri has been linked with a return to Serie A after just one season in the Premier League, with Italian champions Juventus believed to be interested in the 60-year-old as they look to replace the outgoing Max Allegri.
The speculation has led to fans of former club Napoli displaying banners outside Sarri’s Tuscany home, urging him not to join their bitter rivals.
Sarri says regardless of his future he will always have ‘love and respect’ for Napoli, dedicating Chelsea’s success to the fans of the club having failed to deliver silverware during a three-year stay in Naples.
“I am pleased that Napoli congratulated me, I had no doubts it would happen. The Neapolitans know how much love I have for them and that last year I went abroad to avoid going straight to another Italian club.
“They will always have my love and respect. The profession means at times we might have to take different paths, but that will never change my history or my respect for them.
“I dedicate this firstly to the Napoli fans, because this is the satisfaction I was unable to give them last year. I also dedicate it to those lads in the Chelsea squad who couldn’t play tonight because of injuries. I think it’s only right for all of us to have a special thought for them.”
There was a very left-field suggestion for the Player of the Year from our end of season award podcast this week. 🏆
— Football Faithful (@FootyFaithful_) May 25, 2019