Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri is moving closer to the door at Stamford Bridge, according to former midfielder Emmanuel Petit.
After Sunday’s humiliating 6-0 defeat at the hands of league leaders Manchester City, the pressure has never been greater on the Italian manager.
How secure is Sarri’s job at Chelsea? Five key things to know…
- Maurizio Sarri was hired by Chelsea on a three-year deal last summer, becoming the 11th manager since Roman Abramovich took over in 2003.
- His future is currently in doubt though and their 6-0 defeat to Manchester City was the heaviest in any competition since 1991.
- Sarri has already had 40 games; the average span of all coaches in Abramovich’s era is 69 matches.
- Sarri has come pressure from the Chelsea board to win the Europa League, according to reports.
- And Petit, who finished his career at Chelsea from 2001-2004, believes one more bad result could end Sarri’s reign.
With a difficult FA Cup tie this weekend against a buoyant Manchester United side, Sarri must show drastic improvements from his side’s last outing.
Petit commented: “So should Sarri be sacked right now? When Roman Abramovich feels the pressure like this, he doesn’t dwell on feelings, he just cuts down the tree. He did it with Jose Mourinho and he did it with Antonio Conte after winning the Premier League, so he will have no emotion about doing the same with Sarri.
“If the next result is a bad result, that could be the last game for him.”
Raising several points, from body language to language barriers, as contributing factors to the pressure surrounding Sarri, Petit picked out a few particularly glaring issues.
He said: “Over the last few games, I have seen some things on the pitch that makes me wonder why Maurizio Sarri wants to keep going with his current approach.
“He said that he would stick to his guns. I understand and I appreciate that – I respect it – but I think he has forgotten something very important: he doesn’t have to convince the press or the fans, he has to convince his players.
“[…] I understand that a manager has to stick with his views and opinions, even sometimes against his own players’ thinking – because maybe he’s right – but I’m pretty sure that Sarri is very nervous.”
Having previously made comments admitting his possible struggles to rouse his side, it’s become particularly evident when they drop a goal.
Before their 6-0 trouncing against City, they also suffered a 4-0 defeat against Bournemouth barely a fortnight before.
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Petit criticised more than Chelsea’s performance against City, going on to point out the emerging divide between players and manager.
He continued: “What I saw on Sunday against Manchester City said a lot: poor performances individually and collectively; no rage on the pitch; the body language.
“Sarri said himself he didn’t know whether or not he could motivate his team. In terms of communication, the last few weeks have been bad for him.
“What he did after the City game – not shaking Pep Guardiola’s hand – showed a lack of respect. So I think he’s in big trouble mentally, and he’s in big trouble when it comes to showing his players he’s still the right man.”
Chelsea’s hierarchy have particularly high expectations for managers. Antonio Conte had just won the FA Cup before being shown the door, despite winning the Premier League title the year before.
Their fifth-place position in the league was deemed as being not good enough. Jose Mourinho, in his second spell at the club, was also shown the door after a poor string of results, despite having won the Premier League while losing only three games the previous campaign.
It’s clear that temporary drops in form aren’t acceptable for managers and this fact will be looming in Sarri’s mind as he heads into ties with Manchester United, Manchester City and Tottenham in the next five games.