Chelsea boss Sarri doesn't know why out-of-favour Drinkwater still with club
Maurizio Sarri said he does not know why Danny Drinkwater is still at Chelsea after the midfielder was charged with drink-driving this week.
Drinkwater did not train with the rest of the Chelsea first team at Cobham on Wednesday and was left out of the 21-man travelling party to Czech Republic for the first leg of their Europa League quarterfinal against Slavia Prague.
His absence came after news broke that he had been arrested in the early hours of Monday morning -- prior to Chelsea's 2-0 win over West Ham in the Premier League -- after crashing his car on a country road in Mere, Greater Manchester as he reportedly drove home from a party.
Drinkwater, who has not featured in a single competitive game under Sarri this season, has been ordered to appear at Stockport Magistrates' Court on May 13 to face the charge -- and Chelsea's head coach reiterated that the midfielder is very unlikely to be seen on the pitch before then.
"I spoke with him in August when the market was open," Sarri said of Drinkwater. "I said to him to look for something different because in my opinion he doesn't play. I said to him the reasons, my reasons, but he decided to stay.
"I have a very good relationship with him because in my opinion he is a good boy, a good player but he is not suitable for me.
"He knows very well [why] -- he has never played because in my opinion he is not suited to my system and my way of playing. I told him everything in August, he appreciated but decided to remain and so he knew very well the situation."
Asked why he thinks Drinkwater is still at Chelsea, Sarri replied: "I don't know. [Maybe] he hoped we could change the decision."
Chelsea have attempted to offload Drinkwater in each of the last two transfer windows, but have so far been unable to find a suitor prepared to offer a significant return on the £30 million they paid to sign him from Leicester City in the summer of 2017 as well as match his £100,000-a-week wages.
Sarri and Chelsea declined to comment on Drinkwater's drink-driving charge as it is subject to ongoing legal proceedings, but the Italian revealed he will discuss it with his player later this week.
"Not this week," Sarri said when asked if he has spoken to Drinkwater. "Yesterday I arrived at training and it was beginning with [Chelsea assistant Gianfranco] Zola. After the training I went immediately to work because I wanted to see the last match of Slavia. I think I will speak with him on Friday."
Another player whose future at Stamford Bridge has been the subject of speculation is Andreas Christensen. The academy graduate has grown publicly frustrated with a lack of first-team opportunities under Sarri, and has started just four Premier League games this season.
But speaking ahead of another likely appearance against Slavia, the Dane reassured Chelsea he is not looking to force a move away.
"I haven't had a conversation with the club at all [about my future]," he insisted. "I said I'd like to stay. I still have a long contract, I've been here since I was 16. The club has done a lot for me.
"It's been six years and I've always seen myself as a youth product. There are a couple here now. It hasn't changed, I'm a Chelsea player and product and hopefully I'll keep being that.
"If you're not playing you get jealous. We are hungry to play and everything we worked for, we want to get into the team. It makes me more hungry but we want to play [all the time].
"It's always healthy competition [between the centre-backs], we try to push each other. I've been happy with my performances, but there's always healthy competition."