Maurizio Sarri believes Chelsea are still some way short of challenging for the Premier League title despite preserving their unbeaten record with a 3-1 win over Crystal Palace. Chelsea remain just two points behind leaders Manchester City but Sarri again played down his side’s long-term pedigree, underlining the 30-point gap between the sides last season.
“From the first day, Manchester City and Liverpool are at the moment a step ahead of us,” Sarri said. “When I arrived, the gap from last season was 30 points. It is difficult to think you can recover this gap in one season or six months. We need to improve more, because we are doing we are doing well."
Chelsea’s eighth victory in 11 games this season came despite a slow start and a wobble early in the second half, when Andros Townsend’s equaliser for Palace briefly threatened a tight finish. “We need to improve from a tactical point of view,” Sarri grumbled. “In the first 15 minutes of the second half, we were not compact. In the defensive phase, we need to improve. When we can’t cover the ball in the opponent’s half, we are in trouble.”
Alvaro Morata’s two goals brought his tally to five in his last six games in all competitions, and Sarri believed the striker’s confidence was returning after a poor start to the season.
“Alvaro has improved in the last month: improved his confidence, improved his personality, improved also from the technical point of view. Now he's able to play more with the team. But I think also that Alvaro has a very great physical and technical potential, so I think he can improve more."
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