Maurizio Sarri did not mince his words after his side’s defeat to Arsenal.
The Italian coach claimed his side were mentally weaker than The Gunners and that he couldn’t accept that.
It’s the kind of talk that the Chelsea players don’t accept, as proven countless times over the years at Stamford Bridge.
Arsenal bullied their way to a 2-0 win and opened up a seriously tight top four race.
Man United won their sixth Premier League game in a row under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer when they defeated Brighton, putting them level with the north London side, just three points behind Chelsea.
Sarri considered the defeat so severe that he required his translator to emphasise his point in front of the world’s media.
His point? That the Chelsea players aren’t mentally fit enough.
Making that point was a risk which, when looking at the short-term history of the club, is ill advised.
Just ask Antonio Conte or Jose Mourinho.
Sarri’s comments echo what has been said by the men who once sat in his seat.
Jose Mourinho claimed his Chelsea team had betrayed him in 2016 following a defeat to Leicester, a game which was ultimately ‘The Special One’s’ last at Chelsea.
Fast forward two years and Antonio Conte was singing the same tune.
The fiery Italian said Chelsea were having ‘the season they deserved’ as they stuttered to a fifth place finish last year.
He also said that if a player deserves to play than they will in light of Willian’s omission from the starting XI.
Both of those managers won trophies with the Blues whilst playing defensive and arguably unattractive football.
Sarri came in and appeared to be the classy continental calm Chelsea needed after the hurricanes that were Mourinho and Conte had blown away.
And, for a short while, it looked as though the Italian had turned Chelsea into a new side.
After 11 games Chelsea were unbeaten and two points off top, playing some cultured football with a likeable, forward-thinking manager.
After 23 games the Blues are 13 points off top and have looked stale and predictable over the busy festive period.
They have won just four out of their last eight in all competitions and are in desperate need of goals – scoring just seven in those games.
Gonzalo Higuain’s imminent arrival could turn Chelsea’s fortunes around, as they are signing a natural born goalscorer.
However, Sarri has just blasted his team, so bringing in the teacher’s pet from his Napoli days might put a cat amongst the pigeons.
While it isn’t quite breaking point in west London, Sarri’s latest comments show that Chelsea’s culture change is still bringing around the same old issues we associated with their managers of yesteryear.
Sarri hasn’t changed his style since his arrival, N’Golo Kante is surely wasted on the right-hand side of midfield and Eden Hazard is having to fill in for the misfiring strikers.
Provoking the players he is misusing may well prove be the beginning of the end for Sarri.
Will Sarri’s comments invigorate the Chelsea squad with some vital games on the way?
Or will the sensitive superstars revolt, leaving Chelsea in an all too familiar position?
If history is anything to go by, there should be real cause for concern at Stamford Bridge.
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