LONDON -- Maurizio Sarri admitted that he was unaware of Chelsea's move to sign Christian Pulisic from Borussia Dortmund until it was completed, but played down the suggestion that he would rather have the United States international now than next summer.
Chelsea confirmed on Wednesday that they have agreed to pay €64 million to sign Pulisic from Dortmund on a five-and-a-half-year contract, but the 20-year-old will spend the rest of the season in Germany.
Speaking after Wednesday's goalless draw against Southampton, Sarri said the club asked his opinion of Pulisic a month ago and he signalled his approval of the winger, but he did not ask to be kept updated on negotiations.
"I didn't know anything about [Chelsea signing] Christian Pulisic yesterday," Sarri told BBC Sport after the game. "The club asked my opinion about him one month ago and my opinion was positive and I knew the deal was done [today] but I didn't know anything. I'm not in charge of the market.
"We have to play every three days so I cannot think of next year, I have to think about the next match."
Sarri is currently short of wing options with Pedro Rodriguez and Callum Hudson-Odoi sidelined by hamstring injuries, and his problems worsened with the first-half withdrawal of Willian following a hefty challenge by Southampton defender Maya Yoshida.
Asked if he would rather have Pulisic now in light of his current squad situation, Sarri replied: "I don't know. I'm not in charge of the market, so for me it's very difficult to speak about the market or the deal of Pulisic. The board knows very well my opinion.
"I think Willian's injury is not really very serious. The report of the doctor is not serious, also for Pedro. I think Pedro in one week will be able to have training with teammates. Of course, in this match it was really very difficult for me because Pedro, [Olivier] Giroud, [Hudson-Odoi] was out.
"After 37 minutes Willian was out. On the bench, I had only one offensive player, but [Ruben Loftus-Cheek] has back trouble. For me, it was really very difficult to try to change the match in the last 30 minutes.
"I put on the pitch [Cesc] Fabregas, but only because in that moment of the match we moved the ball not like in the first half. I wanted another technical player to improve moving the ball. At the moment, we're in trouble with the offensive players."
Chelsea enjoyed 72 percent possession against Southampton and directed six of their 17 shot attempts on target, but Alvaro Morata and Eden Hazard saw their best efforts foiled by Angus Gunn as the visitors stood firm to earn a point.
"I think we played a very good match for 80 metres of the pitch, then we were in trouble in the last 20 metres," he added. "We created goal opportunities, not too much, but it's not easy to create a lot of goal opportunities in this type of match, because they were very low.
"Of course if you're able to score the first goal you're able to create a lot of opportunities, because you can find spaces. We have to try to solve the problem of the last 15, 20 metres. In the last matches we were in full control of the match, everywhere against every team.
"For us it's not easy at this moment to score the first goal. We have to solve this problem."
Asked if Chelsea can solve their scoring problem in the January window, Sarri replied: "I don't know because I'm not in charge of the market. I have to think to my responsibility. I have to try to improve my palyers, my team, my offensive phase, or better my offensive phase in the last 20 metres.
"Now we have to improve in the last 20 metres. The club knows my position, my opinion. It's up to the board."