Maurizio Sarri wants to stay at Chelsea and believes he is the man to close the gap on Premier League pacesetters Liverpool and Manchester City.

The former Napoli coach is confident he can turn Chelsea into title contenders in two years, insisting he is intent at remaining at Stamford Bridge despite constant speculation linking him with a return to Italy.

Chelsea are likely to appoint a technical director to bridge the gap between board and coaching staff this summer, and it remains to be seen whether Sarri will stay put in west London.

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But the 60-year-old former banker remains adamant he can deliver the success craved by the Blues.

“The Premier League is wonderful and I want to remain in the Premier League,” said Sarri.

“I want to remain at Chelsea, because the level is very, very high.

“The atmosphere in the stadiums is really fantastic. And so it’s a wonderful championship. I’d like to remain here.

“I am sure that, in two seasons, we will be able to close to them (Liverpool and Manchester City).

“But I am not sure that, in two seasons, we will be able to be better than them.

“When I arrived in Naples, Napoli were, in the table the season before, 24 points from Juventus.

“In the first season we arrived to nine points from Juventus, second season to six points, third season to four points.

“For us it was impossible to cover completely the gap, but at the end of the third season, we were very close to doing it.”

The Blues can give their quest for a top-four Premier League finish a sizeable boost should they win at Manchester United on Sunday.

Chelsea still remain subject to a two-window FIFA transfer ban pending the outcome of their appeal, with the option of taking the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) available should the original embargo stand.

Sarri believes Chelsea can still make progress even without new arrivals next term, and also claimed a full pre-season to work with the squad could pay a big dividend.

“Of course with the market it’s better. But we can improve without the market too, I think,” said Sarri.

And asked if his late arrival last summer stunted progress this term, Sarri continued: “I think so, because we had only two or three weeks for working.

Maurizio Sarri File Photo
Sarri thinks it will take time to be able to compete for the Premier League title (Steven Paston/PA)

“And then, at the end of August, we started to play every three days.

“In Naples I was able to have in every season about 60 trainings only for the defensive line. Here I had about 11 or 12 on the defensive line, so there is a big difference.

“Probably I needed time to get used to English football.

“I think that’s normal, that can happen. Not only to English football, but used to this club.

“And so now, in the next season, probably I will be able to give more to my players.”

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