“Sometimes It’s So Difficult To Play In This Way” - Chelsea Star Reveals Pitfalls Of Sarri-ball
Chelsea head into tonight’s Europa League clash away to Malmo FF looking to swat away the critics and wipe away painful memories of their turgid 2019 away displays.
The Blues have played four games on the road this year, each time returning empty handed with the defeats getting alarmingly worse for the crestfallen club.
First there was the 1-0 cup loss at Tottenham, followed by a 2-0 reverse at Arsenal, then a truly shambolic 4-0 hammering at Bournemouth. Maurizio Sarri’s men then hit a nadir after they were spanked 6-0 by Man City - the club’s heaviest defeat in the Premier League era.
‘Sarri-ball’ has subsequently been ridiculed from all angles with the wounded Italian now the odds-on favourite for the sack, while former Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has been linked with a move to Stamford Bridge.
Seemingly everyone has had their say on the Sarri-ball approach, but what is it actually like to play under?
Well, in the press conference for the Malmo match Blues winger Pedro had this to say:
“All the team follow the idea of Maurizio: press really high, stay compact, and to create chances. With good possession, a lot of the ball. We can do this as a team.”
However, the Spaniard then revealed the players have struggled to adapt at times:
“But sometimes it’s so difficult to play in this way.
“It depends upon the opponents. City played very well, so it was so difficult to press. To create between the lines, and to defend.
"But it's Maurizio's idea, and I prefer to press high when we recover the ball to create chances, not to wait for 90 minutes to recover the ball and run 60 metres to score the goal.
"In the last few games it's not been in very good condition for the results. Now is a good opportunity tomorrow to win and get our best confidence.”
It’s abundantly clear that something needs to change, and quickly, whether that’s the manager, the system, or the players - or all three. A dismal defeat tonight could well spell the end of Sarri-ball at Chelsea, however a rare away win would significantly boost confidence ahead of Monday’s crunch FA Cup clash at home to Man Utd.