For the first 10-15 minutes against Burnley, the Sarrismo machine wasn’t working. The Clarets came out aggressively, Chelsea players dwelt on the ball instead of pinging it around and for a while it looked like concerns about our lack of firepower would be borne out.
But then Chelsea settled in, found their rhythm, and after that, Burnley were left to chase shadows. Four goals, a clean sheet, and a happy Maurizio Sarri, who came very close to calling this a complete performance from Chelsea.
“Not easy, not easy for sure in the first ten minutes. They start very well, very aggressive and we were in trouble in the first ten minutes. Then we stated to move the ball very well and after one-nil I think we managed the match better than in other matches. So in the end it seems easy, but not in the beginning. I think we played very well and so the result was a consequence, it was a result of the performance.”
After expressing his dissatisfaction with the level of defending by Chelsea’s midfield against BATE on Thursday, Sarri proclaimed himself happy with how his team handled hapless Burnley on their own ground.
“In the second half I think we managed it better than other matches. We defended better than the last three matches, apart from the first 10 minutes, because we were able to cover the ball in the other half and we were able to cover the men who scored the goals. Very good in the last five minutes.”
And the fact that we managed all this without Eden Hazard is noteworthy as well, even if the two games he’s missed, BATE and Burnley, aren’t exactly the hardest matchups, on paper at least (and, as it turns out, in practice also).
“I want him every match if possible because we have a lot of good players. Hazard offers something different. I am very happy as the team was able to score seven goals in two matches without Hazard. That’s a good sign. I want Eden as soon as possible. I’m not sure for Wednesday but hopefully for Sunday.”
-Maurizio Sarri; source: Football.London
Wednesday will bring a very high profile match against Derby County, albeit just in the Carabao Cup, as Chelsea welcome back Frank Lampard and Jody Morris, as well as star prospects Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori, to the Bridge.
It’s hard to predict exactly who Sarri will field against them, but on the evidence of the last 72 hours, any one of his choices should be capable of getting Chelsea into the next round of the League Cup.