Self-destructing Sarri is talking his way to Chelsea sack… Blues board do not accept negativity
THEY don’t like negativity at Chelsea.
They certainly don’t like it at boardroom level.
Maurizio Sarri is attempting to talk himself out of his job at ChelseaEPA
And if Maurizio Sarri is trying talk himself out of Stamford Bridge, bleating excuses ahead of a Europa League semi-final is a pretty good way to go about it.
Sarri’s post-match news conference in Frankfurt was highlighted by his suggestion the Blues were “in trouble” defensively.
Yes, the season-ending loss of Antonio Rudiger is a blow. While the German is, as it were, rudimentary at times, he has been a consistent and determined mainstay of the back line.
But, in all honesty, Sarri cannot complain about the injury that also costs him the services of Gary Cahill.
Not that the former England defender could not have been an option, in normal circumstances. Far from it, given his experience and know-how.
But if Cahill was such a key component of Sarri’s squad that his absence is a hammer blow, perhaps, just perhaps, the manager might have trusted him to play more than a grand total of 21 minutes of Premier League action this season – all of them off the bench at West Ham in September.
It is a smokescreen, a canard, a nonsense. And the Chelsea fans will not fall for it, either.
Recent performances, in that defeat at Liverpool and draws with Burnley and Manchester United, have only compounded the feeling that Sarri’s tenure will and should be cut short this summer, whatever plays out over the next few weeks.
Sarriball has been horrible, as far as the supporters are concerned.
That fixation with Jorginho. The consequent unwillingness to play N’Golo Kante in his best position.
The lack of faith, until far, far, far too late, in Ruben Loftus-Cheek and the now-crocked Callum Hudson-Odoi.
Eden Hazard as a false nine on too many occasions. And then the all the eggs in one basket loan signing of Gonzalo Higuain in January.
Many Blues fans feel it is a miracle, or at least a minor one, that Chelsea are still, with two games to go, in charge of their top four destiny, as well as a two-legged semi-final away from the chance to get into next season’s Champions League through the back-door route.
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They are, though, and despite Frankfurt’s unexpectedly impressive season, which sees them three points clear in fourth with just three Bundesliga games to go, are favourites to progress.
Frankfurt have been stand-out performers, and the fact that they are closing in on a place in the European Cup for the first time since that greatest of all finals against Real Madrid at Hampden in 1960 makes this a special season.
Of course, the main reason for that is the explanation for Sarri’s public wobble.
Serbian striker Luka Jovic, on loan from Benfica but destined for bigger and better things, has already scored 25 goals in all competitions this season, including eight in Europe.
His tally includes a remarkable five in one game against Dusseldorf, plus the winner in the San Siro that eliminated Inter Milan.
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SunSport’s European expert, German legend Lothar Matthaus said Jovic was “calm” at key moments, adding: “The real quality is the runs he makes. He knows how to find space, to be in the right place and he has the speed to get there as well.
“On top of that, though, is his mentality, his willingness to fight. Jovic is a good technical player but he has become the spirit of his side at Frankfurt.
“He shows, every game, how much he wants to win. Jovic works for the team. And he leads the other players by his attitude, his determination and desire. That is the sign of a good player, a leader.”
Sarri has to find leaders of his own tonight, with the onus on David Luiz.
Yet trying to paint Chelsea as underdogs, in any way, seems more than slightly self-destructive. It is, definitively, not what the board wants to hear. Ever.