Alvaro Morata has revealed multi-tasking Maurizio Sarri is combining the jobs of general, joker and friend to lift Chelsea into the title race.
The experienced Italian has taken the Blues on an 18-match unbeaten run in a stunning start in English football.
And £60million striker Morata , who has scored six times this season, claimed the former bank worker’s man-management skills have been crucial in calming a club in crisis last season.
“I was told he is a coach who plays good football and who loves tactical work but who also has a good personal relationship with the players, and that is the case,” said the ex-Real Madrid and Juventus frontman.
“Sarri knows to perfection the difference between the different times in the life of a squad. When you have to work, he’s is the first to lead by example and is like a general. When it’s time to joke, he can have you dying of laughter.
“That’s all reflected in the group, we’re getting on well together and we’re playing good football.
“The only reason we’re a little behind in the table is that we’ve had some draws.
“But we haven’t been with Sarri for a long time, we haven’t lost yet and that’s good because the competition is very tough in the Premier League. And we’ll improve.”
Morata claimed Sarri’s system is “perfect for me” because he plays in front of goal — and the Spaniard also likes the 59-year-old off the pitch.
“What has surprised me the most is that to talk to him, there is no need [until] something has happened, that you are injured or playing badly, or well,” he said. “He’s always available and interested.
“He wants to know how you are, how your life is. Football issues, sure, but also the political situation in your country — one of the first times I met him, he asked me what I thought of Basque independence. I had my mouth wide open – I didn’t expect that!
“We then talked about it passionately, and that’s something about him that’s not so obvious.”
The 26-year-old told Gazzetta dello Sport that fatherhood had saved him during an injury-hit year.
“It was a strange year that is coming to a close – the worst of my life from a sporting point of view and the best on a family level,” said Morata.
“Not going to the World Cup was the biggest disappointment of my life. My world collapsed around me.
“I entered into a really ugly period where I saw only darkness and only thanks to my family and my wife, I succeeded in coming through it.”