Maurizio Sarri reveals Chelsea regret at 'most fundamental error'

Maurizio Sarri
-Credit: (Image: Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)

Former Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri has revealed that leaving the Blues is the "most fundamental error" of his career.

The Italian replaced Antonio Conte to become their new manager in July 2018 after a successful three years with Napoli. Roman Abramovich backed Sarri in his first summer transfer window, spending almost £200million on new players with Kepa Arrizabalaga and Jorginho the most expensive arrivals.

Despite finishing third and winning the Europa League, Sarri left the Blues after just one season at the helm. He returned to his homeland and joined Juventus, mentioning his desire to be closer to his elderly parents as a reason behind his departure at the time. Frank Lampard replaced him at Stamford Bridge.

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However, five years on since his exit, Sarri has now opened up on leaving Chelsea and admitted he does regret the decision not to stay at the club. After his spell in west London, Sarri spent one season at Juve before enjoying three years with Lazio. Back in March, Sarri resigned as boss of the Rome-based outfit.

"That was the most fundamental error in my career," Sarri told Sky Sport Italia. "We had everything required to remain, it’s a difficult club to work at where you probably don’t get to finish the second season, as practically nobody did in the Roman Abramovich era.

"At least I would’ve remained in the general Premier League situation. We had a good journey there, as the previous season the team finished fifth, then we were third behind Liverpool and Manchester City, who were above all the rest.

"We won the Europa League with 13 victories and lost the Carabao Cup Final on penalties to Manchester City, after eliminating Liverpool and Tottenham, who that year had reached the Champions League Final.

"I made an enormous error that I should’ve avoided. The desire to return to Italy should’ve been inferior to the desire to stay in the Premier League, but that was not the case."

He got off to the perfect start in charge at the Blues, winning seven and drawing three of his opening ten Premier League matches. That had put them right near the top of the table at the end of October, with Chelsea fans delighted with the results and performances under new boss Sarri.

Although their form dropped off ever so slightly, Chelsea remained in the top-four and progressed through to the last 32 of the Europa League before Christmas. During the January transfer window, the Blues signed two players in the form of Gonzalo Higuain and Christian Pulisic, the latter sent back to Borussia Dortmund on loan.

Chelsea lost the Carabao Cup final to Manchester City but finished the season strong, ending third behind Liverpool and Manchester City in the Premier League before winning the Europa League in Baku. Chelsea beat rivals Arsenal to secure the trophy, with Eden Hazard starring with his final two goals for the club.