The narrative is turning against Maurizio Sarri — check out competing thinkpieces from all three major Chelsea sources: Matt Law in the Telegraph (“he could run out of time”); Dom Fifield in the Guardian (“ball-hogging tedium”); Simon Johnson in the Evening Standard (“Sarri is not inspiring”); plus bonus content from the Mail’s Martin Samuel, too (“is Sarri a genius or a myth?”).
Lest we forget, we used to be against such anti-football nonsense. It’s embedded in the Chelsea DNA, thanks in large part to José Mourinho, and much to Abramovich’s chagrin. Well he’s got his tiki-taka now!
Eddie Howe gets it. He told his team at half time: "If you don't have the ball, don't worry." It's not science. Possession does not equal points.— Dan Levene (@danlevene) January 30, 2019
The mad tactical genius is now just mad, doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Contrary to popular belief, that’s not the definition of insanity. It’s just stubbornness. (Or, as Sarri would probably tell you, an unshakable belief that your way is the best way.)
Sarri would also tell you, just like he’s been telling everyone, that the problem is not in the tactics necessarily. It’s in their execution (both physical and mental): in the squad’s failure to learn and implement it properly, which isn’t exactly a highly motivating set of circumstances. Sarri does have a point — for all the accusations of his tactics not working, it’s not like this is his first season in top flight management. The Premier League is a tough league, but it’s not the only top league in the world. Or do we really think no team before Spurs thought of man-marking Jorginho?
After Wednesday’s humiliation, Sarri kept the team for an hour in the dressing room, delaying his media commitments and annoying the journalists. Some described what happened as a “intense exchange”, but Law’s report claims it was actually a rather more even-handed and sobering assessment, an immediate breakdown of mistakes, both team and individual (Hazard gets mentioned by name in the report as that will draw attention, but he was probably not unique in failing to follow the coach’s instructions).
Sarri's Chelsea reign could be short-lived if he doesn't come up with a Plan B and prove Jorginho is not his teacher's pet. Hazard singled out for criticism post-Bournemouth #cfc https://t.co/B5iVGCXJYt— Matt Law (@Matt_Law_DT) January 31, 2019
There was no ranting or raving, despite Sarri’s supposed temper that was often used to describe him prior to his appointment at Chelsea. If the report’s to be believed, Sarri even solicited feedback from the admonished bunch, which isn’t the most conducive way to go about gathering said feedback, but it’s better than nothing. Sarri, for all his stubbornness, understands that results cannot continue on like this if he is to have a long-ish career at Chelsea.
Sarri: "I am so sorry. We will settle that. You are completely right"— Sarrismo™ (@Blue_Footy) February 1, 2019
This is lovely pic.twitter.com/t15o8WQCIG
If Chelsea’s problems were easy to solve, chances are we would’ve done so already. There’s improvement needed on all fronts, from the coaches to the players to the front office. If we can work together, perhaps a workable solution will be found.
If not ... well, then the cycle repeats and on we go.