Maurizio Sarri has revealed Chelsea’s players held hour-long crisis talks after their humiliation at Manchester City, as the club bid to save their season from imploding.
Sarri is under mounting pressure ahead of a crucial fortnight in which his future as Chelsea manager could be ultimately decided, starting with tonight’s Europa League tie with Malmo.
Chelsea’s hopes of qualifying for next season’s Champions League could rest on their European campaign and a shock defeat to the Swedish minnows over two legs would only increase the sense of a campaign unravelling.
Bruce Buck, the Chelsea chairman, even made a rare appearance at Sarri’s press conference to preview the first leg as the Italian reflected on the fallout from the 6-0 battering at the Etihad Stadium: the club’s worst defeat since 1991.
“It has not been too easy, of course. But I think, after a match like Manchester City, it is normal,” Sarri said. “We talked all together for one hour the day after the match. I think that it’s better to work, better to react on the pitch.
“It’s not easy to play on Thursday after a 6-0, but we have to play and we have to play well. We want to win. In my opinion, the last game was not a problem of motivation. We were not able to react to the first difficulty during the match because, in the first four or five minutes, we started well.