Maurizio Sarri is starting to discover what it feels like when the honeymoon period as manager of Chelsea is over.
It would be foolish to suggest Sarri’s job is under threat after just five months, although Luiz Felipe Scolari and Andre Villas-Boas might suggest otherwise. However, the Italian needs to add a new game-plan to his repertoire sooner rather than later.
After a very promising start to life as Chelsea coach, there is more evidence that opponents have figured out his tactics.
The results alone make grim reading: since winning their first five Premier League fixtures, Chelsea have added just four more in the next 10. They should have secured a fifth last night but missed a host of chances at 1-0 and then gifted Wolves two sloppy goals.
Sarri questioned his players’ poor reaction after Nino Espirito Santo’s men drew level, intimating they were solely at fault for the defeat.
“We were suddenly another team,” he said. “Without the right distances, our football, I don’t know why.
“I am really very worried, not for the result but for the fact we didn’t react to the first goal. We didn’t react at all, so I am really very worried for this.”
However, all those connected with Chelsea might think Sarri could have done more to inspire a comeback.
Sarri is so committed to his ‘vision’ of play that he will not alter from it one bit. This means his substitutions are merely like-for-like rather than anything out of the ordinary.
After Chelsea went 2-1 down with more than half an hour to play, the former Napoli coach made three quick substitutions. Yet, the 4-3-3 system that began the contest stayed the same.
So one striker replaced another — Olivier Giroud for Alvaro Morata; one wideman for another — Pedro for Willian; and finally a member of the midfield three, N’Golo Kante, was taken off in favour of Mateo Kovacic.
The only one of those three moves that might have surprised Wolves was bringing off Kante, Chelsea’s highest-paid player.
Still, these are hardly the kind of tactics which are going to knock a team out of their comfort zone. Where is the invention, the subtlety? Those who pay Sarri’s £5.7million-a-year salary might expect more for their buck. Sarri has shown he is fully committed to his philosophy. In some ways that is admirable but one could say it is being stubborn.
Once the home side went in front and had something to defend last night, they negated Chelsea with ease.
By taking off Morata, for example, there was no possibility of switching to two forwards up front — like Arsenal did against Tottenham to such good effect at half-time four days ago.
When Spurs became the first side this season to triumph over Chelsea at the end of last month, they exposed the weakness of Kante playing out of position on the right of midfield and the less defensively minded Jorginho down the middle.
Despite such a sound beating, Sarri has remained unmoved, insisting it is up to Kante to improve technically in the offensive phase. Presumably the latter is falling short in that department, given his early departure last night. Do you think it is right for Sarri to insist that it is up to Kante to improve himself technically?
By admin on 06 Dec, 2018@ 17:21:5210