Sarri's progress at Chelsea has slowed recently
But the Chelsea manager feels that as soon as his players discover the “collective target” that he feels is missing at the moment, they can once again become the top team in Europe.
“I can say that, at the moment, they are stronger than us,” he said. “But our final target is to be the best team in Europe. So we need to work, we need to improve. We are lucky: in 90 minutes, anything can happen. We know very well it's very difficult, but we have to believe in it.
“As I told you before, we have to create a collective target. We need a collective target because we need motivation, determination.”
In addition, Sarri said, when considering the relative strengths of Chelsea and Manchester City you have to consider where the two teams were relative to each other when he took over.
“We started with 30 points of difference,” he said.
“We have to work to reduce the gap. I think that we are improving, but they are improving also, so it's very difficult to recover the gap.
“We started very well, this season, but now we have to face some difficulties. I think it's normal.
“Sooner or later, it's normal to have some difficulties in a new way of playing. It's normal. We have to work, we have to try to solve problem by problem, day by day. And to improve in a definitive way.”
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De Bruyne scored the winner against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge last season
Loftus-Cheek has scored five times for Chelsea this season
Sarri’s “new way of playing” has included playing Kante in a wider, more advanced role than the one he excelled in when winning consecutive title medals with Leicester and Chelsea.
However, the Chelsea manager is refusing to listen to criticisms of his system.
“The problem is only the results,” he claimed.
Chelsea lost 2-1 away at Wolves on Wednesday
“Because, when we won, the position of N'Golo was 'good'.
“At the moment, we're not winning so it's normal that some players are ‘playing very badly’, some players are ‘in the wrong position’...
“I have my opinion. I can understand that you or someone else doesn't agree. But I explained very well why.”