Maurizio Sarri has suggested that Danny Drinkwater has stayed at Chelsea because he thought the manager might change his system.
Drinkwater has not featured at all under Sarri, having been told in August that he was not in the Italian’s plans.
He remained at Stamford Bridge, with a number of potential loan moves coming to nothing.
Asked at a press conference why Drinkwater stayed, Sarri replied: “I don’t know. Probably he hoped that we could change the system, I think.”
Sarri has deployed Jorginho as his midfield kingpin and controversially moved N’Golo Kante into a more attacking role.
Kante has adapted to the position but Sarri did not feel Drinkwater was capable of doing so.
“No, I don’t think so. Maybe I’m wrong, it’s my opinion. My opinion for me is very important,” Sarri said.
“Kante in my opinion can play with the two midfielders and with three midfielders in my football he is better on the right or left because in the centre I want to have a technical player.
“As he (Drinkwater) knows very well, he has never played because in my opinion he is not suitable for my system – to my way of playing.
“I told him everything in August. He appreciated it. But he decided to remain. So he knew very well the situation.
“I said to him to look for something different because in my opinion he doesn’t (wouldn’t) play and I said to him my reasons. But he decided to stay at Chelsea.
“I have a very good relationship with him, because in my opinion he is a good boy and is a good player.”