Sarri backs Mourinho for 'great future'

Maurizio Sarri believes Jose Mourinho can succeed in the Premier League again - but hopes it is not with a third spell in charge of Chelsea.

Jose Mourinho still has a bright future in football and could succeed again in the Premier League, according to Chelsea head coach Maurizio Sarri.

Mourinho was sacked by Manchester United this week following a fractious and dispiriting start to the season that leaves them 19 points shy of Premier League leaders Liverpool in sixth.

The apparent breakdown in relations within the Old Trafford dressing room repeated a pattern from Mourinho's second stint at Chelsea and his time with Real Madrid – leading to questions over whether his era of considerable success at the elite level has come to an end.

Sarri's Chelsea shared a dramatic 2-2 draw with United this term and the Italian believes his most successful predecessor at Stamford Bridge still has triumphs ahead of him.

"As you know very well, Mourinho won everywhere," the ex-Napoli boss told a news conference ahead of Chelsea's Premier League match against Leicester City. "I like him very much as a coach and as a man.

"I think that he is right when he says that Manchester United have a future without Mourinho. Also, Mourinho has a great future without Manchester.

"I like him very much and I'd like to see him on a bench as soon as possible. Maybe in England – not here!"

Sarri confirmed there are varying future prospects for two members of his playing staff, namely Andreas Christensen and Danny Drinkwater.

Denmark defender Christensen will miss out this weekend due to a hamstring injury, although the fact only one of his 10 appearances this season has come in the Premier League means involvement was unlikely in any case.

Nevertheless, Sarri maintains the 22-year-old remains very much part of his plans at Chelsea and stated Barcelona's signing of Jeison Murillo on loan from Valencia should be enough to put rumours of Christensen moving to Camp Nou to bed.

"I think yesterday Barcelona announced a new centre-back. Christensen, for sure is out of the matter for the moment," he added.

"He is an important player for us. He didn't play very often in the Premier League but he played all the other matches.

"He is very young but he is very important. He will be more important in the future."

Drinkwater memorably starred as Leicester won the Premier League in 2015-16 but has been a peripheral figure since moving to Chelsea last season.

The 28-year-old midfielder has not featured under Sarri since the 2-0 Community Shield loss to Manchester City in August and was not included in their Europa League squad.

His coach insists a stylistic incompatibility is the reason for his exclusion, with a move elsewhere seemingly the best option for all concerned.

"Danny is on the list for the Premier League but is out of the list in Europe," Sarri explained.

"I think that he is a very good midfielder but he is suitable for a midfield with two midfielders. With the three [that Chelsea play], he is not really a central midfielder. He is not able to play centre-right or centre-left.

"For him, the problem is only my football. It depends on the club, it's up to him, I think."