Maurizio Sarri admitted Sunday’s draw against Wolves was a missed opportunity for Chelsea to make headway in the race for a top four spot but felt we were unlucky to be behind when Eden Hazard struck our late equaliser.
Sarri watched his side claim a point when Hazard bent home from the edge of the area to cancel out Raul Jimenez’s strike for the visitors, which was their only shot on target.
The draw leaves us in sixth position on a day when we might have closed further ground on the top four, but the nature of Hazard’s strike made it feel more like a point gained than two lost by the end, on a day Sarri admitted we had failed to move the ball quickly enough in the final third.
‘We were unlucky because we conceded a goal in the first situation inside our box, the first and last in 90 minutes,’ the Italian said. ‘We were unlucky for that but at the other end we need to improve in attack.
‘[Wolves] defended in the last 20 metres with 11 players. We needed to move the ball faster, more movement without the ball, more movement into space, behind the line, and we played with five touches, so if there are no spaces it’s very difficult to score with five or six touches against a very physical team with 11 players in the last 20 metres. We need to improve in this kind of situation.
‘Hazard is a great player, he solved the situation in the moment. But during the match, was like the other players. He needs more movement without the ball.’
Hazard’s equaliser made it six matches without defeat and Sarri remains confident of a top-four finish
‘When you have only 10 matches, every match you’re not able to win is a missed opportunity,’ Sarri said. ‘Today was a great opportunity but we were not able to gain three points. In the last six matches, we won four and drew the other two, so there is a little consistency in this moment. We have to think only to the next match. We need to recover two points immediately.
‘As I said before, we are in the moment of consistency. We have only to continue. We are confident of course. We have to be confident.’
Sarri changed the system from 4-3-3 to 4-2-3-1 as we chased the game, bringing on Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Callum Hudson-Odoi, with Jorginho among those taken off early.
‘Jorginho, if the other players don’t move without the ball, is in trouble,’ admitted the Italian. ‘He is able to play it one-touch, but you need movement from the other players. In the last 20 minutes, Jorginho is not suitable for 4-2-3-1, so it was only a consequence of the change of the system.
‘We [brought on] Loftus-Cheek because in my opinion we needed a more physical impact in the opposition box. Then Hudson-Odoi because it was impossible to change our match, so it was really very important to have a player very able in one against one.
‘Then at the end we changed the system for the first time to a 4-2-3-1. It’s not easy of course, the problem wasn’t the system but our way of playing. We need to move the ball faster. We cannot play with five or six touches, it’s very difficult to score. For the first time we were playing against a team who didn’t want to play. They didn’t counter-attack in the last 30 minutes so we had to try.’