Maurizio Sarri insists he never feared the sack at Chelsea despite rumours regarding his long-term future at the club in recent weeks while also claiming to have discussed his plans for the next campaign with the club hierarchy.

The 60-year-old guided the west London club to a hard fought 2-1 win over Fulham at Craven Cottage on Sunday, which serves as their first win away from Stamford Bridge in 2019. Having also beaten Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday, Chelsea have taken their campaign back on track with Sarri leading them to a top four charge in the Premier League.

The Blues now lie in sixth position in the league table, just two points behind Manchester United, who hold the fourth and final Champions League spot, and are a solitary point behind fifth-placed Arsenal. Third-placed Tottenham are five points ahead of Sarri’s charges but with Chelsea having a game in hand over their rivals, the race for Champions League football next season could only heat up.

Following last month’s damning 6-0 defeat against Manchester City, speculation swirled regarding the ex-Napoli manager’s position at the club, who was reportedly nearing the sack after starting the year with a string of disappointing results. A players revolt also dominated the tabloids yet it was quickly shut down by senior players at the club, and the remarkable turnaround in results put testament to Sarri still having complete authority over the squad.

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Speaking with an Italian outlet regarding the tumultuous past few weeks, Sarri stated he only focused on getting the job done at Chelsea and had ignored rumours regarding his future at the west London club during that time. The ex-Napoli manager also revealed he has already started outlining his plans for the next season with the Stamford Bridge outfit hierarchy.

“I feel the same as before, but happier because the results are positive,” said the Blues boss. “When everyone talked about my dismissal, I was talking with the club to plan the team for next season, so I was always relaxed.”