By Sam Reilly – @ManLikeCHO
This season has been strange. When Sarri was appointed as the manager of Chelsea, fans were positive and optimistic of the season ahead. This feeling grew considerably when Chelsea beat Pep’s Man City to the signing of Jorginho who was one of Europe’s most wanted midfielders at the time. Results started well upon the start of the campaign and fans had the belief that Sarri would have imprinted his style of play on this squad by mid November. Fast forward through mediocre results, humiliating losses and speculation surrounding the club, this season has deteriorated into a fouler beast.
Fans have fallen out and argued with one another, chances of silverware and even UCL qualification have decreased immensely and debates have already started so early in Maurizio’s tenure on if he should be at our club. This is the sort of season we would openly mock rivals over (Wenger’s Arsenal & Jose at United) and to feel it happen to us is a shock to the system, as fans have never been so divided.
Now there are a multitude of reasons as to why this has occurred. Sarri has shown a lack of rotation until recently when it was vital to do so, he also has given limite minutes to players who deserve time on the pitch (Hudson-Odoi, Loftus Cheek and Emerson etc). The players have downed tools many times and the board have shown lack of desire to signing players when needed (replacement for Fabregas).
On a perhaps more controversial tone, the fans have been at fault too. With match-going fans showing their discontent with the team and manager by aiming chants and boos at likes of Sarri and Jorginho, all whilst cheering for likes of Alonso who had done a lot more harm than the two names in question. Those incapable of attending games have shown their feelings across the internet with many fans letting their feelings on Sarri be heard. It has even went to the extent where CFC Fan TV, a well known fan channel, have released videos and posts slating the coach and stating that he “isn’t a Chelsea man” as well as label him as potentially our worst manager under Roman.
This is not on as opinions have become aimless agendas and constructive criticism has become harmful abuse. To the fans who keep a level head and can see both sides this does not apply to you, but to those who are Sarri Out based on these claims. This is a post I hope you can read and take something away from it, as I attempt to debunk many of the reasons Sarri has been ousted by Blues fans.
Sarri is against the youth and is not the man to take Chelsea forward
Whenever I hear this statement it makes me laugh as this is a claim made from theories and agendas of certain groups of the Chelsea fanbase. Firstly which manager has ever used youth unless forced to before Sarri? Jose is famous for not playing youth as much as other managers, notably the cases of De Bruyne and Lukaku. And Antonio Conte was someone who demanded players who were experienced and very rarely utilised young players outside of early rounds in the cups.
During Mourinho’s tenure at Chelsea he held firm belief in the likes of Ivanovic, who I will use as the player to base my argument against the claim made by Sarri Out members. People say the likes of Marcos Alonso are players Sarri won’t take out and bring in Emerson which shows he has a selective choice of players. Those very same people will ignore that in Jose’s last season he selected a depleted and finished Ivanovic ,who fans blamed for many goals we let in during that catastrophic season. However Jose kept playing him unless injury occurred. Now that Sarri is in a similar situation and has even started in the last month or two to slowly edge in Emerson over Alonso, fans will use it against him like it has never been done before.
Another point is Callum Hudson-Odoi, Sarri was the manager to aid Callum in breaking through the first team and pleaded with the club to reject loan offers to take the young talent away from Stamford Bridge. However fans say he is the sole individual halting Callum and his career, this is wrong in so many ways it is laughable, with Sarri giving him a fair amount of minutes overall for a youth player. I love the way Callum plays but I will be the first one to say that our fans overhype many of our talents.
Callum is good but when fans act like he has done for the club that players like Hazard and arguably Willian it is mindboggling. Willian despite his many shortcomings dragged the team on his own in that disastrous 15-16 season. Hudson-Odoi hasn’t done that as of yet in his career and is still developing so what he has been given in terms of minutes this season have been reasonable and not as horrific as some fans say. Sarri has recently even been starting Callum in the big games like Liverpool away, which other managers would NEVER have done unless forced to.
I honestly believe Sarri is the best coach for Callum at the moment and if he shows next season a clear intent of giving youth more minutes within the squad in cups etc, there is no reason he should be given abuse.
Sarri lacks the motivational and tactical ability to get the team capable of winning trophies and is at fault for our halftime downfalls
This is another statement conjured up by those who are Sarri Out that are built upon speculation and entitled agendas. Both Pep Guardiola and Arrigo Sacchi, who are two of the greatest managers to ever grace the game, have praised Sarri. And these comments have substance when you look at the rise of Sarri who worked his way up the football management ladder without the contacts of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer or the standard career path of someone like Pep Guardiola. Sarri came into football management late after a banking career and kept working hard to get to the pinnacle of Italian football by managing Empoli who were a struggling side looking to achieve promotion to Serie A, and after missing out at the final hurdle in the playoff final the
season prior, dragged Empoli to Serie A with his excellent system, tactics and motivational abilities getting them automatic promotion. In his third season with Empoli, Sarri displayed immense motivational skills and tactical knowledge to safely push Empoli away from a relegation battle and had them concede the second least amount of goals in the bottom half of Serie A.
Sarri had many innovative ways of working at Empoli, with Maurizio using drones at training sessions controlled by himself or employees to capture sessions from all angles and be able to teach players where to improve as well as find solutions to help his team. Sacchi who had went to his sessions; spoke openly about how good they were.
“He is a genius. When I was technical director with the Italy youth teams, I always went to watch kids in Serie A/B and his Empoli always impressed me. He looks after the players and they understand him.”
Empoli had overachieved in every way and his players also spoke many times about how much Sarri had motivated them and improved them; Massimo Maccarone was a player who admired Sarri and said this about his former manager.
“I owe a lot to Sarri. When I signed for Empoli I was demotivated and he gave me back the desire to play football. The minute I started working with Maurizio I couldn’t wait for Sunday to arrive. Maurizio knows how to give you confidence in your ability but he is also with you every step of the road, checking on how you are doing, noticing what you are doing right and wrong. The consistency and quality of the training sessions are remarkable and players respect him.”
These quotes from players and managers show Sarri as the man he truly is, rather than what those against say, Sarri is a master tactician as well as a great man who has motivated his players countless times and revived some of their careers with how he treated them and motivated them.
Chelsea fans who bring up the halftime capitulations and use it against Sarri often forget in Conte’s last season how they went in to multiple games at halftime in a good position and would come out and be humiliated (Bournemouth (H), Spurs (H) etc). The largest of these humiliations was Chelsea being 1-1 with Watford in the 82nd minute to lose 4-1 by the 90th minute. But Sarri Out members will ignore this and bring up games like Liverpool 2-0 Chelsea recently which was a game where individuals missed easy chances and the team lost to a superior 11 in Liverpool who are favourites to win the title. Even under Jose, Chelsea had a 1-0 lead against Liverpool and Southampton at home to only capitulate and lose both games 3-1 at a time where Chelsea had a title winning squad compared to now and were much more favoured man to man than what we have now.
Sarri was the man who got the team to fight against City and be the better
side over 120 minutes in the Carabao Cup Final and if it weren’t for that Kepa moment we would be in a much better position as a club right now. Sarri is also the man who has us still fighting for a UCL spot as well as have us in our first European Semi Final since 2015 under Jose so Maurizio deserves more respect and time to make this situation right.
In conclusion, every single fan is open to their opinion and I respect that. But when evidence is clear that some points just simply are not true, I have to speak. So here is where I stand, I am for Sarri and will support him till he is sacked or leaves the club; there are definitely ways he has to change like his rotation and in game substitutions etc. However until the day comes that there is a definitive answer to whether Sarri is the right man or not, I will back the man and will passionately demand he is at least given a full
preseason to implement his style further as there really is no better manager available to do this job at hand. I am Sarri In, and I hope a few of you are now beginning to turn that way too.