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Sarri focused on Chelsea plans, work, future; rubbishes AS Roma rumors

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Admits there have been some “deep troughs” at Chelsea this season...

Chelsea v Malmo FF - UEFA Europa League Round of 32: Second Leg
Nail-biting stuff against ... umm ... Malmö ...
Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images

Maurizio Sarri is unlikely to waver in his commitment to his football and his focus on getting it working at Chelsea regardless of what may be happening around him in the media, in the stands, or even in the Chelsea front office. That’s both good and bad, depending mostly on results of course — if Chelsea suddenly start winning consistently, Sarri will be praised; if Chelsea continue to alternate victories and defeats or drop even further, he will be dismissed (literally and figuratively).

But until that happens, he’s singularly focused on his work.

“I am not interested, to be honest. I have to think of my work as a big picture issue, otherwise I’d do my work badly. So I continue along my path and nothing has changed, as far as I am concerned.”

“[...] I don’t understand why people act as if our season is so negative [...] it’s true there have been many peaks and troughs, including some very deep troughs, but considering it’s my first season in a new league and environment, I think that’s acceptable. I did take over a team that finished fifth with 70 points.”

Deep troughs and deep thoughts. But Sarri’s definition of acceptable may not agree with everyone else’s, and with Chelsea sitting in sixth and on pace for 73 points, it’s tough to see any actual improvement (especially if Chelsea also fail to win either domestic cup or, most damningly, the Europa League). Treading water is not the minimum expectation — top four and Champions League qualification is.

Whether Sarri does get through at least the end of this season to try to achieve those goals appears increasingly unlikely, especially if he were to lose against Manchester City on Sunday in the League Cup (doubly so if that happens in a similarly embarrassing fashion as the 6-0 last week) or to Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday in the league (doubly so if that happens in a similarly embarrassing fashion as the 2-0 a couple months ago). Opportunistic rumors in Italy have claimed that he may have even started making contingency plans by meeting and having dinner with AS Roma director Franco Baldini recently, but he firmly dismissed that bit of silliness.

“The rumours are about dinner with Baldini, but last I heard he was in South Africa, so as I’m not going to South Africa for dinner, it’s safe to call that a load of rubbish.”

-Maurizio Sarri; source: Sky Italia via Football Italia

If he only he were so certain in what’s ailing and how to fix Chelsea at the moment...