Maurizio Sarri’s outburst in his post-match press conference following Saturday’s 2-0 debacle at the Emirates appears to have been a calculated move. We were not alone in drawing comparisons between it and Conte’s impassioned outburst in the same room a little over two years ago, but perhaps we should’ve found comparisons with similar words from Mourinho as Sarri’s message seems to be part of an overall plan rather than just off-the-cuff anger and frustration.
And while there’s certainly risk involved in dragging his own players in public like that, planned or not, Sarri thinks it’s a risk well worth taking.
“It is my character. I don’t think it is risky. These guys have a sensible head on their shoulders, so I don’t think I am risking anything. I said the players are difficult to motivate but by the same token there are players who are sensible, who will listen and won’t take it the wrong way.
“There might be a slight risk, but I don’t think there is. This is my character – I am a straight talker. This is how I speak. Yes, sometimes when you speak in that way it might cause some upset or some conflict, but it doesn’t cause any lingering bitterness.”
That’s certainly a fair amount of trust placed in the same players he deemed incapable of reaching at the same time when it comes to motivation, and should things continue to go south, it will be easy to point back to this moment as the catalyst for when it started falling apart.
Unless of course the change it inspires is a positive one.
“I think we probably do [have leaders]. I think we might even have someone who is capable of embodying the characteristics I have talked about. Of course there is always a danger a leader emerges who is a bad leader – who doesn’t necessarily do the kind of things that I want the team to do. Nevertheless I think we need to change the mentality and I think within the group of players we have that ability and the characteristics to change.”
With the last vestiges of the Old Guard long gone, which Sarri acknowledged as well — “over the last couple of years they have lost some really important points of reference for the club” — the new leaders have to step up. Change has to come from within. Change will not come from without as Sarri, unlike Conte, doesn’t have a preferred tactical setup to fall back on.
“It is different because Conte was using a four-man defence and changed to a three-man defence. But he was used to doing that anyway, so it wasn’t quite the same, whereas this is the football I have. I am a good teacher of this football. I don’t think it would be a good idea if I try to teach my players a different type of football. There will be some changes perhaps but there will be no massive upheaval.”
-Maurizio Sarri; source: Guardian
We’ve made our Sarri-ball bed and now we must lie in it.