Maurizio Sarri has been addressing suggestions Chelsea are facing a list of difficulties as we head into tonight’s big derby match at Stamford Bridge.
We host Tottenham, the team we knocked out of the Carabao Cup last month but whom stand 10 points ahead of us in the Premier League table. All has not been smooth for the Blues over the past few games but despite events at the conclusion of the Carabao Cup final on Sunday, the players had executed the manager’s plan well and had been working hard on that beforehand.
Sarri has already emphasised that a line has been drawn under the incident with Kepa Arrizabalaga at Wembley, so that is not where difficulty lies.
‘The goalkeeper is not a problem, Sarri states. ‘He made big mistakes but he is really a very nice boy.
‘The difficulty is the result, because the atmosphere in the training ground now is really very good. The application of the players is better than before. So the problem now is consistency of results.’
In seeking consistency, the boss emphasises that taking on a good and relatively well-rested Tottenham side is made more testing by having played a final which went to extra-time only three days earlier, but we must find a way.
‘It is difficult to play every three days with the same mental intensity, to arrive every match with the same level of application and determination, but we have to do it tonight because for us it is a very important match. We know very well that Tottenham are doing really very well away from home so for us it is really very important to defend with the same level of application and attention as in the last match. It is not easy because mentally we spent a lot in the match on Sunday.’
In our most recent domestic home match, the FA Cup tie against Manchester United, the later stages of the game had to be played in front of a discontented crowd and Sarri has addressed that too.
‘I was disappointed for my players, because in my opinion we played a very good first half. At the end of the first half the result was 2-0 but the performance was good. Then in the second half we played well in the defensive phase because we conceded nothing but we could have done better in the offensive phase. I was disappointed with the atmosphere for my players, only for my players. But I can understand the fans of course because they are used to winning. Now we are in a difficult moment but I would like to see more support for my players, not for me.’
Sarri has also been asked for the first time about FIFA’s decision to impose a transfer ban, one that Chelsea is appealing and has released a statement regarding.
‘I don’t know very well the situation,’ he responded, ‘but I know the club is working and so I think they can solve this problem. Maybe for the summer, maybe not but they are working.
‘I think first of all we need to improve these players [we already have], because we cannot buy 20 players in the market because there are not 20 players ready for Chelsea in the market. It is difficult to find a player ready immediately for this level, so the first target is to improve these players.’