The new coach at Stamford Bridge rarely surprised anyone with his tactics at Napoli, yet they often swept opponents aside
At last, Chelsea can see “a fumata bianca”. In the lexicon of Italian football journalism, that phrase – “white smoke” – is used to convey the moment when a drawn-out coaching appointment or transfer saga reaches its conclusion. The imagery is borrowed from the Vatican, where ballots are burned to let the world know when a new Pope has been elected. In this case, the smoke might simply be rising from the end of Maurizio Sarri’s latest cigarette.
To say that Chelsea’s new manager is fond of a puff might be understating things. Dries Mertens estimated Sarri’s daily consumption at five packets a day. The manager is almost as keen on his coffee. At Napoli, he would have the club’s shopkeeper bring him a fresh espresso out at set breaks in training every day.