“I don’t think it is risky,” said Sarri. “These guys have a sensible head on their shoulders, so I don’t think I am risking anything. I said the players are difficult to motivate, but by the same token there are players who are sensible, who will listen and won’t take it the wrong way. There might be a slight risk, but I don’t think there is.
“This is my character, I am a straight talker. This is how I speak. Yes, sometimes when you speak in that way it might cause some upset or some conflict, but it doesn’t cause any lingering bitterness.”
Sarri has frozen out club captain Gary Cahill and title-winner Victor Moses, and allowed Cesc Fabregas to join Monaco, but he still believes there are leaders in his squad who can assume responsibility.
“I think we probably do (have leaders),” he said. “I think we might even have someone who is capable of embodying the characteristics I have talked about.
“Of course, there is always a danger a leader emerges who is a bad leader, who doesn’t necessarily do the kind of things that I want the team to do. Nevertheless, I do think we need to change the mentality and I do think within the group of players we do have that ability and the characteristics to change.”
Fourth-placed Chelsea are now just three points ahead of Arsenal and Manchester United, and must still travel to Manchester City, Liverpool and United. Sarri’s team must also try to overturn a one-goal deficit in the second leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final tie against Tottenham Hotspur on Thursday night.
But Luiz backed Sarri and, when asked if Chelsea’s approach must change, the Brazilian said: “No, it is not impossible. It is our style, it is our philosophy. I think if you asked at the beginning of the season ‘can Chelsea keep the ball?’ You would have said no. And now we are able to do that, like the best teams in the world, but then we have improve our last 25 metres.
“Because of the results, if you start to change and change, you don’t go anywhere. So this is our philosophy, I believe in it, I trust in it. I just know we have to improve, like every team in the world.
“What Sarri has done until now is unbelievable, amazing, because normally a team to understand this philosophy needs one or two years, like Manchester City and Liverpool, who are playing very well with the ball now. So we have to try to improve the details now. Everybody is trusting his job and everybody is with him.”