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Official: Chelsea Appoint Maurizio Sarri as Head Coach

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I guess those of us complaining about Sarri shouldn’t be surprised. Journalist David Amoyal who covers Serie A, on Twitter:

“Everything Sarri has done this season was entirely predictable to anyone who followed him at Napoli- if Chelsea board didn’t know who they were hiring they should take some of the blame on his shortcomings... 

“Stubborn tactics, no rotation of players, not playing young players, poor sportsmanship when things go bad. All things we told you all summer although I love Sarri but he always was an odd fit for Chelsea”.

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^ Poor sportsmanship? Am I missing something? What's he done here that would count as poor sportsmanship? 

This is an entirely predictable press pile-on that has more to do with content than Sarri, whatever his shortcomings may be. 

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38 minutes ago, thevelourfog said:

^ Poor sportsmanship? Am I missing something? What's he done here that would count as poor sportsmanship? 

This is an entirely predictable press pile-on that has more to do with content than Sarri, whatever his shortcomings may be. 

I think he's alluding to ignoring Pep and stomping off without the customary handshake?

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  • marcotti_gab_m.jpg&w=160&h=160&scale=cro
     
  • Less than a year ago, Antonio Conte famously said "I am not so stupid to play against Manchester City open and lose 3-0 or 4-0." After the 6-0 beatdown that Pep Guardiola's crew inflicted on Chelsea Sunday, you wonder if it makes Maurizio Sarri "stupid" -- at least on the Conte-meter. And because too many people like simple, ready-made storylines, they jumped on that, as well as the always reliable tropes about N'Golo Kante not playing defensive midfield and Sarri's like-for-like substitutions.

Indeed, Chelsea set up to play an aggressive high press, hoping to catch Manchester City off-guard, which is risky by its very nature. But that's not why they got spanked. They lost because they switched off defensively, not because they were too open or inflexible.

The first goal came off a free kick, with Eden Hazard and Marcos Alonso not noticing the runner down the right flank. The second was an absolute world-class, long-range finish from Sergio Aguero, the sort you can't really do much about. The third was a horrendous back header from Ross Barkley that was easy prey for the lurking Aguero and on the fourth, Kepa really should have done better.

All of that happened in the first 25 minutes. When you're 4-0 down at that stage away from home against Manchester City, you're pretty much done.

None of those goals had anything to do with Chelsea's high press, Kante's positioning or Sarri's substitutions. They had to do with something for which Sarri hasn't had much criticism this season but is as much of an issue as his problems further up the pitch: the back four. (You can throw in the last goal as well: it involved a beautiful sweeping piece of passing, but something you'd expect a well-drilled backline to deal with.)

In addition to some built-in limits -- Marcos Alonso is a fine attacking wingback but struggles in a back four in terms of quickness and nous, while Cesar Azpilicueta is having a horrendous campaign in his first year back out wide -- there was a shocking lack of basics on display. Sarri needs to get that part right as much as he needs to get the press working at the other end, which looked way too tentative and disjointed (a bit like against Arsenal).

You can debate his philosophy all you like, but this is why he's there. This is what the club wanted after 16 years of safety-first managers (with the exception of Andre Villas-Boas' brief stint in charge). As Gary Neville pointed out, it would be foolish to try and change this now.

If it doesn't work, get a different manager or get different players; in that sense, with Willian, Pedro, Hazard, Olivier Giroud, Kovacic, David Luiz, Higuain all out of contract either this summer or next, they should have room to manoeuvre. But expecting Sarri to change is a bit like going to a sushi restaurant and ordering shepherd's pie.

The above is not meant to absolve Sarri, of course. Not at all. Part of his job is getting his message across to the players and getting them to execute, and that isn't happening. In fact, against City it didn't happen at both ends of the pitch, which is an even greater concern. His insistence on working with a small nucleus of players -- he said it was something he learned from Guardiola, who once claimed "you can only work with 14 players in your first season, otherwise it's impossible" -- has boomeranged badly and it's hard to believe people like Andreas Christensen, Emerson, Ethan Ampadu or Callum Hudson-Odoicouldn't have absorbed his message better if given the chance.

Sarri operated pretty much the same way at Napoli where, as the joke went, in Serie A at least, he always played the same lineup and the Piotr Zielinski for Marek Hamsik substitution was that year's version of Kovacic-for-Barkley. (In the cup competitions he made wholesale changes, just like he is now.) The fact that he hasn't moved on from this even a smidgeon is an indictment.

Still, Chelsea are one point out of fourth place and are still competing for three cup competitions, one of which will get them back in the Champions League. This is not the time to tear up the blueprint. They opted for the unconventional and they're getting it. Ride it out, see where you are and then draw your conclusions. This is most likely what you expect they will do, too, given the fact that Roman Abramovich seems less preoccupied with the club than at any time since acquiring it back in 2003.

 

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The more I'm reminded how Guardiola was fullsome in his praise of Sarri's Napoli side and advised him to stick with a core of fourteen players when he got the job and recommended Sarri when turning us down I can't help but think he's playing the long con and wants to be able to ignore the threat from a toothless Chelsea , the one side who were a thorn in his side when he was at Barcelona.

It's all going swimmingly.

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xCELERYx   
1 hour ago, Original 21 said:

I guess those of us complaining about Sarri shouldn’t be surprised. Journalist David Amoyal who covers Serie A, on Twitter:

“Everything Sarri has done this season was entirely predictable to anyone who followed him at Napoli- if Chelsea board didn’t know who they were hiring they should take some of the blame on his shortcomings... 

“Stubborn tactics, no rotation of players, not playing young players, poor sportsmanship when things go bad. All things we told you all summer although I love Sarri but he always was an odd fit for Chelsea”.

Echoed all this from the very beginning. All of Sarri's shortcomings were brushed under the rug though because the pleasing football he deploys. There's a reason why he's plodded around in the Italian lower leagues for 30 years and not won a single competition - he's not actually that good. 

This is what happens when performances are taken at face value. We deserve the mess we're in right now for hiring someone so incredibly one dimensional and out of his depth. 

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19 minutes ago, xCELERYx said:

This is what happens when performances are taken at face value. We deserve the mess we're in right now for hiring someone so incredibly one dimensional and out of his depth. 

Thats 3 managers in a row :)

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kev61   
16 hours ago, Martin1905 said:

Absolutely not kev.

He is arguably the greatest manager of all time for coming into a club and getting instant results, something he proved yet again in his last two jobs and something we desperately need right now.

 

Please stop this for my sanity alone - he is a narcissist and a svengali at the same time - his svengali personality is gone and he is left with nothing other than his narcissism - who in God's name would employ this relic?!!!

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I dont understand why the club doesn’t simply prioritize Champions league football and see where it goes. 

I mean, do we really need top 4? If we win Europa League we are back in the UCL.

Is firing this guy really such a bright idea? Most reasonable supporters knew that there was a huge risk converting to a back 4 with this bunch. 

And most expected us to be hanging around 4th place which we are doing right now! 

I get the Sarri hate right now, I really do, but 3 of those 4 goals were really poor individual mistakes. I would like to blame the guy, getting rid of him would be the quickest and easiest solution if it was actually the “right” one, but even if we sack this guy only Simeone or Mourinho could probably hammer out results with this squad’s record of consistency (or lack thereof).....

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3 hours ago, kev61 said:

Please stop this for my sanity alone - he is a narcissist and a svengali at the same time - his svengali personality is gone and he is left with nothing other than his narcissism - who in God's name would employ this relic?!!!

My guess, Kev, is pretty much any club interested in winning things. Jose's record over many years speaks for itself, despite you bagging him at every opportunity. Be a brave man that predicts that he won't do it again......:).

Porto[227]

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Mourinho on the touchline against Leicester City in August 2014

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