Saturday 23 March 2019

Chelsea players asked for their thoughts on Maurizio Sarri in hour-long dressing-room inquest

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri’s future is said to be hanging in the balance (Andrew Matthews/PA)
Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri’s future is said to be hanging in the balance (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Matt McGeehan

The Chelsea dressing room remain firmly behind Maurizio Sarri despite a series of troubling results.

Sarri's position as head coach is in doubt, with Chelsea facing a crucial run of fixtures. Monday's FA Cup tie with Manchester United is followed by Thursday's Europa League last-32 second leg with Malmo and the February 24 Carabao Cup final with Manchester City.

It was City who inflicted Chelsea's worst defeat in 28 years, the 6-0 reverse following another humiliation, a 4-0 loss at Bournemouth which was the Blues' heaviest in 22 years.

An hour-long post-mortem followed the City loss on Monday - 10 minutes longer than the dressing-room inquest at Bournemouth - yet David Luiz says no one has raised objections to Sarri's possession-based tactics, which have yielded mixed results.

"We have had many meetings already asking if someone doesn't believe," Luiz said. "They can say. Nobody said anything. It's because everyone believes (in it)."

Chelsea slipped out of the Premier League's top four as a result of the loss at City, responding with a 2-1 first-leg win at Malmo on Thursday night.

And a sequence of wins in the next few days could transform their fortunes under Sarri, who has restored Luiz to the starting line-up after the Brazil defender became a peripheral figure during Antonio Conte's second season.

Luiz insisted Chelsea face "an amazing future" under Sarri, before trying to explain the losses to Arsenal, Bournemouth and City which meant the goals in Sweden were Chelsea's first away from home in 2019.

He said: "We lost against maybe the best team in the world at the moment in Manchester City. They were better than us from the beginning to the end.

"We lost a few matches because it is part of the process. The teams that are at the top of the table now are ones with managers who have been there for more than three years.

"There is a big difference when you have already understood everything, it is much easier to play football. I think we are in the right way to still improve to become a fantastic team."

Independent News Service

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