What now for Chelsea coach Maurizio Sarri after his side were dumped out of the FA Cup 2-0 at home to Manchester United on a night where home fans turned on him and visiting fans mocked him?
It’s all gone wrong for the former Napoli boss, whose side were well beaten by a rival whose decision to change coach in mid-stream has worked wonders and must be prompting similar thoughts from Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich – a man not known for his patience with coaches at the best of times.
“You’re getting sacked in the morning,” sang the United fans, while Chelsea fans voiced their displeasure at Sarri’s style of football and chanted the name of former club hero, Frank Lampard, who is currently in his first season with Championship side, Derby County.
It’s been a miserable run for Chelsea: dumped out of the FA Cup, beaten 6-0 by Manchester City in the Premier League and thrashed 4-0 by Bournemouth as well.
They are currently sixth in the league, just a point behind Manchester United, who sit fourth, but while United are on an upward curve, it’s hard to see how Sarri can stop the slide and qualify for next season’s Champions League.
Speaking after Monday’s defeat, Sarri said he hadn’t heard the chants from the stands, “very well.”
“I am worried about the results. Not about the fans. I can understand the situation and our fans, because the result wasn’t really good. We are out of the FA Cup, so I can understand our fans. But I am worried at the moment about our results,” he said.
Sarri added that it was “very easy” to repair the relationship with the fans with good results and he has the chance to get back to winning ways (if he is still in charge) when Malmo visit Stamford Bridge in the Europa League on Thursday.
Chelsea should win that game with relative ease, although in the current atmosphere nothing is as simple as it looks on paper, but the weekend provides a much bigger challenge when they visit Wembley to face Manchester City in the final of the Carabao Cup.
Lifting some silverware, all be it the least important of the domestic titles, could take some of the pressure off Sarri, but Sunday’s final comes just a fortnight after City put six past Chelsea in the Premier League.
Sarri has criticized his squad after recent defeats saying it was hard to motivate them but on Monday he said he thought they were with him.
“I am not sure but I think so. I think the situation with the players is a really very good relationship but the relationship is not so important. It’s important to play, it’s important to get good results,” he said
The problem for Sarri now is that anything other than a big win against Malmo on Thursday will be seen as a disappointment and after Sunday’s game, Chelsea’s next match is a league clash at home to Tottenham.
Results are important, but the way Chelsea are playing at the moment, with the attack struggling to score, the midfield looking disjointed with N’golo Kante clearly out of position and a defense which attacks better than it defends, results are hard to come by.