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Sarri’s outburst highlights his real Chelsea challenge

Richard Marsh | 22 January 2019

Blues manager has questioned side’s motivation

Chelsea’s season took a sour turn on Saturday night as the Blues slumped to a 2-0 defeat at Arsenal.

The Gunners were deserved victors at the Emirates, and a furious Maurizio Sarri unleashed his displeasure with his side’s performance after the game.

Sarri said his team are ‘extremely difficult to motivate’.  Chelsea remain 2/5 for a top-four finish this season, plus they’re in contention for the Europa League, the FA Cup and the Carabao Cup.

But the Italian’s comments reveal the true nature of the task which lies ahead of him as he bids to bring trophies back to Stamford Bridge.

Managers come and go under Abramovic

Roman Abramovic’s takeover of the club in 2003 was the catalyst for a new era at Chelsea.

The Blues have won four Premier Leagues, five FA Cups, the Champions League and the Europa League under the Russian’s ownership.

But that success has come through turbulent times. Sarri is the 14th manager to take charge of the club since Abramovic became club owner in 2003. That’s barely one manager per season.

And Sarri will be acutely aware that each of Avram Grant, Luis Scolari, Andre Villas-Boas, Roberto Di Matteo and Rafael Benitez lasted less than 12 months at Stamford Bridge.

Players have been called into question before

Sarri’s decision to go public with his comments is a bold move. Chelsea players have been accused of turning their backs on a manager before – and the gaffer didn’t win.

After winning the Premier League in 2015, Jose Mourinho was sacked by the club just seven months later after a disastrous start to their title defence.

Much of the reported fallout centred on player power and a lack of motivation from the squad. Mourinho repeatedly said as much in the press, and eventually he was ousted from the club.

And in recent Premier League seasons, Chelsea’s inconsistent nature does allude itself to questions regarding their motivation.

In the last four campaigns, the West Londoners have finished 1st, 10th, 1st and 5th.  No other club in the Premier League’s so-called ‘big-six’ has boasted such yo-yo campaigns.

What next for Sarri?

It remains to be seen what repercussions – if any – Sarri’s comments will have.  As mentioned, the squad have reacted badly to such accusations in the past.

But we’ll find out soon enough. The Blues host Tottenham Hotspur on Thursday night in the second leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final.

Sarri’s men are 1-0 down from the first leg, but will fancy their chances of turning it around with Spurs missing a number of key players.

The Blues are 8/13 to win the match, and 11/10 to qualify for the final.  Winning the Carabao Cup may bring brief respite, but it’s clear Sarri is now fully aware of the scale of being Chelsea manager.

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