Wednesday 22 May 2019

Chelsea head coach Maurizio Sarri moves on from Burnley fallout

The Blues were held to a 2-2 draw on Monday night.

Chelsea head coach Maurizio Sarri was sent to the stands on Monday night (Adam Davy/PA)
Chelsea head coach Maurizio Sarri was sent to the stands on Monday night (Adam Davy/PA)

By By Nick Purewal, Press Association Sport

Chelsea head coach Maurizio Sarri has moved to quash any fallout from the abuse he received from Burnley’s backroom staff.

The Italian said he will accept his £8,000 fine from the Football Association for straying out of his technical area in Monday’s 2-2 Premier League draw with Burnley at Stamford Bridge.

Antonio Rudiger clashed with Burnley goalkeeping coach Billy Mercer, David Luiz squared up to Clarets midfielder Ashley Westwood, and Sarri was left angry with abuse he received from the visiting coaching staff.

But now Sarri has insisted there was no malice in any of the abuse on Monday night, while Chelsea and Burnley have spoken across the week and agreed to draw a line under the matter.

“Oh in my career I made a lot of mistakes on the pitch, so I can understand very well under pressure you can say something you don’t think,” said Sarri.

“And I think that it was a strong discussion but my opinion has to remain on the pitch.”

The FA has opted not to investigate further any claims of abuse from Burnley directed at Sarri, and both clubs have avoided any charges for failing to control their players.

Sarri was relaxed about that and ready to move on, especially in light of Chelsea’s brief statement issued on Thursday.

“Issues arising between both benches during Monday night’s match have been resolved between the coaches and the clubs, and a line has been drawn under the matter,” read Chelsea’s statement.

Sarri said he deserved his FA fine, explaining: “The fine was because I was out of my technical area, and it was true, and so I have to pay I think.

“I went there in my opinion for a good reason. But I was out and so I have to pay.”

Sarri also admitted Chelsea are a “long way” behind Premier League pacesetters Liverpool and Manchester City.

He believes the Blues must close the gap in a maximum two seasons, though his position at Stamford Bridge remains under threat.

Chelsea head to Manchester United on Sunday where the winners will take a big step towards a top-four finish to secure Champions League qualification for next term.

Sarri hailed Liverpool and Manchester City both closing in on 90 points as “incredible” however, and insisted he wants the chance to elevate Chelsea to that level in future.

“It’s incredible because Manchester City, in the last season, gained 100 points,” said Sarri. “To gain 100 points in the Premier League is really incredible, really very difficult.

“In this season, two teams, I think they will finish with about 97, 96, 95 points. That’s incredible. It’s very difficult to cover the gap. Really very difficult. We need to work. We need to improve.

“Of course, this one is the third season of (Pep) Guardiola at City, and the fifth I think of (Jurgen) Klopp at Liverpool. So it’s a long way (to go). But in one or two seasons, we have to recover the gap.

“We started to try to improve. In this moment, we are not able to improve in the right way with the results. But I think we are improving.

“Tactically, we are improving. Mentally, too. Because two or three months ago, at the first difficulty of a match, we were not able to fight or react.

“Now my feeling is different. Now we are able to fight and react. But of course to recover the gap will be really very difficult for us, but also the other teams.”

Press Association

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