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Chelsea's Maurizio Sarri on Jose Mourinho: 'The results speak for him'

Floyd Konde waxes lyrical as Jose Mourinho prepares to go head-to-head with his former Chelsea charges, now led by Maurizio Sarri.
Goals from Jesse Lingard and Romelu Lukaku propelled Jose Mourinho's Man United 2-1 past his former club Chelsea back in February.

LONDON -- Chelsea head coach Maurizio Sarri admits that Jose Mourinho's trophies won mark him out as the better coach, but warned that he is every bit as driven by winning as the Manchester United manager.

Mourinho has won 20 major trophies over the course of a remarkable career in management, including Champions League triumphs with Porto and Inter Milan and seven league titles across four different countries, though a torrid start to the Premier League season has put his future at Old Trafford in serious doubt.

In contrast, Sarri -- a relatively late bloomer in elite management after working his way up through the lower tiers of Italian football -- is still waiting for his first piece of major silverware, and he believes he has a long way to go to be considered in the same bracket as Mourinho.

Asked if Mourinho's record means he is the better coach, Sarri replied: "Of course. The results speak for him, I think. So, at the moment, he is better than me for sure. I hope to improve myself in the future, but at the moment I have to say he's better than me.

"He has won everything everywhere, so I need to win if I want to compare myself to him. At the moment, it's not possible [to compare us]. You are talking about one of the best coaches in the world, and I'm not at the moment one of the best."

Mourinho has endured fierce criticism in recent months for publicly escalating tensions with United's hierarchy over transfer policy as well as criticising players -- most notably star midfielder Paul Pogba -- while the team's results and performances have declined.

After watching his United side come from two goals down to beat Newcastle 3-2 prior to the October international break, Mourinho claimed there is a "manhunt" against him that will not cease until he is forced out of Old Trafford.

Sarri agrees that Mourinho is not getting the credit he deserves, and believes the Portuguese will overcome this difficult spell to remind everyone of his quality.

Asked if Mourinho should be revered forever because of his past glories, the Chelsea head coach replied: "Not in the past. I think he will be able to win also in the future, because he is really one of the best. Maybe the best. The results are the best, so I think he will be able to win again."

Sarri also dismissed the notion that Mourinho's style of play is no longer at the cutting edge, with the other clubs in the Premier League's "Big Six" all seeking to press their opponents and attack at high intensity.

"The problem is not the way of football, if I like it or not," he added. "The focus is he is able to win. He has won everything everywhere, so probably that means he is right [to play the way he does]."

Mourinho and Antonio Conte both came to Chelsea pledging to win trophies, while Sarri said that he wanted to bring "fun" to Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea have since garnered as much praise for their entertaining style of play as for their impressive start to the Premier League season, but Sarri is adamant that he is just as focused on results as Mourinho.

"The character is different, but maybe the level of determination is the same," he said with a smile.

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