SSC Napoli have tweeted a message designed to calm any early season nerves at Stamford Bridge. The tweet listed Sarri’s first five competitive results as manager of the Italian giants. One win, three draws and one defeat were recorded by the manager, then still in his infancy at a top club. What the tweet was trying to convey was the importance of giving the new manager time and breathing room at Chelsea.
However if the Italian gets off to a slow start at The Bridge, he could be in the firing line early on. Roman Abramovich is not an owner known for giving his managers time, even if it’s something they desperately need. Reputations mean nothing at the Bridge, or so it’s been.
New way at the Bridge
Sarri is a man admired by many. The football played by his Napoli side was regarded as some of the best played in the world over the past few seasons. Legendary A.C Milan manager, Arrigo Sacchi, was glowing in his praise for the then-Napoli head coach. Speaking to Goal.com in 2017 Sacchi went on record to say:
“[Sarri] tries to interpret football in a positive manner, to be a protagonist and not to follow others.
“This lifts the value of the players and their self-confidence, and also the game. It produces spectacular football.”
High praise indeed and encouraging comments for Chelsea fans. Guardiola is also a huge fan. The two will go head to head this year in the Premier League and it will be a fascinating match up.
What remains to be seen of course is whether Chelsea’s squad can suitably adapt to Sarri’s new way. After all, this is a man who installed twenty-seven different defensive drills with Napoli. It’s a lot to get your head around to say the least, and he hasn’t had too much time with his new players.
Jorginho the key
Sarri’s approach is focused on suffocating the opposition with clever, interchangeable possessional play. His teams enjoy an average of around 60% of the ball in matches, something he’ll be likely to enjoy in the Premier League this season. Whether or not he can navigate through some very tight, well organised defences is another matter entirely.
The Italian also looks set to get lucky and keep of gems like Hazard and Courtois for this season at least. However, beating City to Jorginho was mission critical for Sarri. The Italian international has recently been one of the best midfielders in the world in terms of possession and ball retention. He is vital to how Chelsea will try and play next season, everything is likely to come through him.
With Jorginho on-board and the talented group of players inherited, Sarri has the personel to make it work. There are top class, experienced players at Stamford Bridge who should be relishing the chance to work under such a student of the game. How quickly they adapt, however, could determine Sarri’s longevity in West London.
Sarri has checked in at Chelsea at a very interesting time. Roman Abramovich has recently shown signs of a reluctance to pour the money in as he has done before. His visa issues are also well documented this summer as the wider diplomatic tensions between the UK and Russia make inroads in to the beautiful game.
With all this going on in the background, plus the massive uncertainty over a number of key players, it will interesting to say the least, to see how much time Sarri gets. Will the billionaire owner at The Bridge give his new man some time?
With such a competitive league this season, a slow start could ultimately be very costly for any side. Chelsea have the players and the platform to make Sarri’s purist vision work. The pressure though will be huge. Whether or not the fans warm to the new transitional, experimental phase under Sarri will also be intriguing
On the other hand, Chelsea have a history of swinging the axe. If they are adrift and out of contention you’d still fancy them to pull the plug on their new Italian experiment.
This article was originally published here at Footie Blog #14.