Maurizio Sarri is looking for a reaction from his players on the pitch as we attempt to overturn a first-leg deficit in tomorrow’s Carabao Cup semi-final second leg against Tottenham at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues go into the game trailing to Harry Kane’s penalty from the first leg at Wembley earlier this month.
If we are to progress, the performance will need to be better than it was during Saturday’s Premier League defeat to Arsenal. Sarri was critical of his players after that game, and the Italian, who expects Gonzalo Higuain to sign later today, hopes his side will respond in the right way.
‘I think we need to react on the pitch, all the rest is nothing,’ he responded, when asked if he was worried his criticism of the players would have a negative impact. ‘We discussed with the players how to try to improve the approach, the motivation and determination so we are trying to change something in training, pre match and everything. We all have to react on the pitch.
‘We need to discuss our problems. The first step, if I want to improve, is to accept the mistake otherwise its impossible to improve. It’s a normal discussion for improving.’
Sarri spoke about leadership within his squad
‘I know very well the situation can change suddenly, without logical reason sometimes. It depends on the atmosphere around the players but we have some players with the characteristics to be a leader, such as Azpilicueta, David Luiz, so I think they can help all the other players to get the right mentality.’
He was asked about Eden Hazard’s leadership qualities
‘I don’t know. At this moment he is more an individual player than a leader. He’s very important of course as he’s a great player and he can always win the match in two minutes, sometimes in one minute, but at the moment he’s not a leader. He’s a great player, one of the best in the world.
‘I think he said (in a recent interview) coaches told him he needs to do more. I think he has to do more because the potential is higher than the performances. He has to respect himself firstly, he has to do more.
‘You know Eden at the moment is a wonderful player but he’s an individual player, he’s very instinctive. For him its very difficult to play only in one position, he likes very much to go in relation to the ball, he wants the ball at his feet so for him I think it’s very difficult to play as a striker but also as a winger. We have to organise the other 10 players in the defensive phase because he needs to play everywhere on the pitch.’
Sarri is confident his side can come out on top tomorrow
‘We want to win, of course. We know it will be difficult because they are a very good team but we have to try and I think we can do it.’