Chelsea’s first loss of the season, a 3-1 flop at Wembley against Spurs that could’ve been much-much worse, has cracked open a fissure right over a fault line.
One side is home to the notion that Maurizio Sarri’s tactics are doomed to failure in England and that playing Kante anywhere but in front of the centre backs is a fatal mistake.
The other side is where belief Sarri-ball is still king and where judgement of the head coach is reserved until the players actually start doing what he wants them to do — which they aren’t right now.
Didier Drogba belongs to the latter group.
Speaking to the media in Japan (where Chelsea will be playing a match next summer) on a global tour for Yokohama Tyres, the former striker remains upbeat about the transformation at his old club.
He’s a believer in what Sarri is doing.
“I think he has brought a lot of stability to the club. This is his first season and he’s a young manager so what he’s doing in the Premier League is great because the Premier League is not an easy league to manage in.
“He’s getting the best out of the players and right now you see the results, they speak for themselves. The first defeat was only Saturday and I think he’s going to bounce back. We’re going to have some great results in the future.”
-Didier Drogba; source: Star
Although he’s on Chelsea’s payroll in his current ambassadorial role, now-retired Drogba nevertheless brings a player’s perspective to the radical change in style that Sarri is bringing to the Bridge. And he’s implicitly rejecting the idea that current squad has lost faith in Sarri. He should know; he was at Chelsea to experience first-hand the times other managers, like Luiz Felipe Scolari and André Villas-Boas, tried and failed to change Chelsea’s style like Sarri is doing.
ESPN’s Chelsea beat reporter, Liam Twomey, believes (on the Chelsea Fancast) there’s an important difference between now and then. Then, Chelsea’s core were Jose Mourinho men, the Old Guard, and believed in his approach. Chelsea have since added a different kind of player, the kind who eventually tired of both Jose Mourinho’s and Antonio Conte’s defensively-minded tactics. The players want to play the Sarri way.
It just might take a while to see real success on the pitch. We must have patience.