Maurizio Sarri says Chelsea struggles are not down to his tactics

first_img Eden Hazard was unable to assert himself against an excellent Manchester United midfield on Monday night. Photograph: Rob Newell – CameraSport/CameraSport via Getty Images Is defending making a comeback after the gung-ho attacking years? Facebook Maurizio Sarri has had no contact with the Chelsea hierarchy this week and has claimed the ferocious debate around his preferred tactical approach is “a false problem” as he desperately clings to his position at Stamford Bridge. Jonathan Wilson Sarri confirmed he had not spoken to the owner, Roman Abramovich, who has not attended a game this season, or the director Marina Granovskaia since the loss to United. He was reluctant to draw conclusions, either, from the chairman Bruce Buck’s ominously conspicuous presence in Sweden and at Stamford Bridge this week.Regardless, it seems doubtful the Italian will be able to rebuild bridges with a fanbase in open revolt this week. “It’s very easy: we need to win three or four matches in a row,” he said. “It’s the only solution. I can understand very well the frustration of our fans because they are used to winning and now we are in trouble. But there isn’t another way. We have only to have good performances and good results. And, in this moment, it’s very difficult to think that we are able to win three or four matches in a row.“But, in football, everything can change in one day. I think that we need, first of all, a good performance. A good result. Then, with more confidence we are able to do everything. I have to think that I will be the manager of Chelsea for a long time, otherwise I cannot work. I am not sure [it will work] but I have to think this. I have to work and I want to work with a long-term target.” Jonathan Wilson Pinterest Share via Email Chelsea fans don’t often have time to turn on a manager – this felt decisive news The Italian will lead his beleaguered side into the second leg of the Europa League last-32 tie against Malmö knowing defeat in any of the team’s next three matches – they play the Carabao Cup final against Manchester City on Sunday and host Tottenham in the Premier League next week – would likely spell the end of his tenure at the club seven months into a three-year deal.Discontent among the fanbase spilled over this week with chants of “You don’t know what you’re doing” and, more pertinently, “fuck Sarri-ball” during the FA Cup fifth-round defeat by Manchester United, with supporters infuriated by the predictability and lack of flexibility to Sarri’s outlook. The depth of antipathy surprised the board and left them contemplating how best to proceed.Sarri has been without his assistant Gianfranco Zola, who is suffering from a gallstone problem, and could be without goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga at Wembley after he succumbed to a hamstring complaint. Yet, while he could rest Jorginho on Thursday, he suggested he would not change his formation against Malmö or consider restoring the World Cup and two-times Premier League winner N’Golo Kanté to a midfield anchor role.Instead, the head coach returned to the familiar theme of his players’ mental fragility. “The system is a false problem,” he said. “I know very well that, when we are losing, I have to put a striker on the pitch. When we are winning, I have to put a defender on the pitch. But I want to see the football in another way.“I have to think we are able to improve, and able to improve immediately. The result is not all in a match. In the last match [against United] we played better, better and better, especially in the first half. We have to solve a big problem because we stayed in the other half for 75 minutes out of 90 and were not able to score. They only played 15 or 16 balls into our box and scored two goals. So we have to solve this problem: a problem of aggression and determination in both boxes.” Share on Pinterest Chelsea The Fiver: sign up and get our daily football email. Topics Read more Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn Maurizio Sarri Share on Messenger Read more Antonio Rüdiger admitted the team had underperformed and pointed to a lack of confidence, suggesting Sunday’s meeting with City – 6-0 victors when the teams met this month – would “show the truth”. Yet the Germany defender fell short of rallying support behind Sarri and likened the head coach’s penchant for tactical meetings on match-day mornings to sitting in a classroom back at school. “There’s no fatigue [caused by training on the day of games], because it’s not like we are doing box-to-box runs,” he said. “It’s not physical. It’s just the tactical things he likes to do.“That’s his way. It’s new for the majority of the players but we have to adapt to it. It’s the same if you sit in the school the whole time listening to someone. Of course, sometimes, it gets [mentally tiring] but at the end of the day you have to do your job. The City game will show the truth. That will show our way this season.” Share on WhatsApp Share on Twitter Twitter Reuse this contentlast_img read more