NEW Juventus head coach Maurizio Sarri believes his season under the media spotlight at Chelsea has made him stronger for the challenges ahead in Turin.
The Blues agreed a compensation package with the Serie A champions — understood to be worth in excess of £5million — for Sarri, who had signed a three-year deal with Chelsea when appointed last summer to replace Antonio Conte.
Despite some negative reaction from sections of the Chelsea fan base who were not convinced by his style of play, Sarri guided Chelsea to the Carabao Cup final, where they were beaten on penalties by Manchester City, and then finished third in the Premier League.
The Italian, though, ended the campaign on a high, clinching victory over Arsenal in the Europa League final in Baku (pictured below).
Former Napoli boss Sarri was given a tour around the Turin club and Juve’s training complex after jetting in on Wednesday.
Sporting a club suit and tie to address the Italian media for the first time as Juve manager yesterday morning, Sarri, 60, was asked to reflect on what was a testing spell at Stamford Bridge.
‘The world of the English media is well known to everybody, there are great newspapers and also some tabloids. This is something which certainly strengthens you a lot,’ he said.
‘What I was a little disappointed with was the fact that here in Italy, what the tabloids wrote was mainly reported compared to the articles of the other newspapers.
‘But of course then all of the criticism and the attacks, the pressure that you have to undergo will somehow strengthen you.’
Sarri revealed the opportunity to move back to his homeland to be closer to family was one of the telling factors.
‘I feel that I have respected everyone and I gave my all. Juve are the best Italian club right now and offered me a chance to return to Italy,’ he said
‘It’s the crowning achievement of a long career, that for 80 per cent of it was extremely tough.’
‘I have never seen so much determination on the part of a club to hire a coach. They had a great attitude which convinced me, they were very strong feelings.’
Sarri will attempt to build on the work of Massimiliano Allegri, who left at the end of the season with Juve having been crowned Serie A champions for an eighth successive time.
‘Allegri leaves a weighty legacy. Winning what he won is very difficult, he achieved extraordinary results,’ Sarri said.
‘I would like to see in the team the same ability to get past the difficulties that he was able to help them (get past).’
Sarri accepts he will have to win over some Juve fans, given his association with rivals Napoli.
‘I arrive with scepticism just as I did with all my other clubs,’ he said. ‘I understand that, but I know only one way to change that and that is to win and convince while entertaining and getting results,’ he said.
Juve sporting director Fabio Paratici had earlier thanked Chelsea for the way the negotiations over Sarri had been conducted, maintaining the 60-year-old was ‘the right man for the job’.
‘He was absolutely the first choice,’ Paratici said.
‘I don’t know what we said to convince him, maybe he just felt we really wanted him.’