Maurizio Sarri has explained why Marcos Alonso was not in the matchday squad for Sunday’s Carabao Cup final against Manchester City.
Emerson Palmieri was given the nod to start at left-back having featured in all but one of our games in the competition this season. He was part of a solid collective defensive display and converted his penalty during the shoot-out, too.
There was no space for Alonso in the 18 at Wembley, with the versatile Andreas Christensen the defensive option on the bench. Sarri said at his press conference today why that was.
‘I didn’t want a left-back on the bench,’ the boss revealed.
‘It is the same situation with Emerson usually. It depends on the position.
‘In this moment Emerson is doing very well, so I have to use him. It depends on the mental condition, the physical condition. Emerson now is in a very good physical and mental condition.’
It was put to Sarri that he had said earlier in the season that Alonso could be the best left-back in the world, and if his drop in performance had concerned him.
‘It can happen in 11 months you have one or two months not at the top. It’s not a big problem.’
Regarding his own status at Chelsea, Sarri reiterated that he does feel not under pressure, and after 35 years of managing teams he is used to difficult moments.
His time at Stamford Bridge began with an 18-match unbeaten run in all competitions, which was convincingly brought to a halt at Wembley in November, by tomorrow’s opponents Tottenham.
He reflected on what has changed since then, as well as the campaign as a whole.
‘At the beginning we had more enthusiasm so we were able to remedy some mistakes.
‘Then we played without enthusiasm for a period. Probably we were mentally tired. Of course in the defensive movement we are better now - if we don’t stop defending.
‘After the first goal in Manchester [versus City] we stopped defending. Now we are improving, especially in the defensive phase in the last two matches.
‘If we are able to have great solidity in the defensive phase we will be able to find consistency.’