Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri reveals surprising weakness ahead of Newcastle clash
The Blues have enjoyed a perfect start to the new Premier League season, picking up wins against Huddersfield and Arsenal, but fans have been concerned at a lack of defensive stability.
Despite keeping a clean sheet at Huddersfield, Chelsea shipped two soft goals against the Gunners to follow-up the pair of strikes they conceded in their Community Shield defeat to Manchester City - leading many to suggest a weakness at the back.
And Sarri has admitted that his teams generally endure problems defensively during the early months of his tenure - news which could prove a boost to Newcastle as they search for a first triumph of the season.
But the Chelsea boss is not too concerned about the problems and ruled out playing five at the back to combat the issue.
"Every week," said Sarri, when quizzed on how often he was working on defensive improvements.
"I am not worried about the defence. When I arrive at new teams I usually have problems in defence for the first few months.
"I used five (at the back) years ago but it’s not my way."
Sarri left Napoli to take over at Chelsea in the summer having been the Italian club's replacement for Rafa Benitez when he departed in 2015.
And the 59-year-old has praised the current Newcastle boss for his fine work in Naples, while also admitting that Benitez's side will be a tough proposition when they meet in the Premier League on Sunday (kick-off 4pm).
"I have to say thank you to Rafa," he added.
"When I arrived in Naples I had the feeling that the team was almost ready to play my football. If I arrived after another coach it may have been more difficult for me.
"He’s a very good coach. Sunday will be very difficult for us. Chelsea lost 3-0 there last season but Manchester United and Arsenal also lost."