Pep Guardiola defends Maurizio Sarri as pressure grows on Chelsea manager following 6-0 drubbing
You know things are not going well when the first question of your press conference asks if you fear for your job.
That was the fate that befell Maurizio Sarri after a 6-0 drubbing at the Etihad saw Chelsea suffer their worst defeat in Premier League history at the hands of the side they had beaten just two months ago.
If December had seen the first signs that the manager’s progress at Stamford Bridge would not be straightforward, the months since have increased the scrutiny and Chelsea sit sixth in the table after their humbling at the hands of Manchester City.
As if getting thrashed wasn’t bad enough, Sarri risked upsetting one of his closest allies in the game when he appeared to snub Pep Guardiola at the final whistle of a chastening afternoon.
Both managers brushed the matter off, with Chelsea assistant Gianfranco Zola speaking with the City manager at the final whistle and Sarri sharing a glass of wine after all media commitments had been fulfilled.
Sarri could not offer any assurances about his future, saying that his job was “always at risk” and preferring to talk about the problems of his side defending and conceding “stupid” goals.
When asked if days like today made him consider whether Sarriball could ever work in the Premier League, the coach contended that he couldn’t possibly tell because he had not seen his football today.
What happened next with Guardiola‘s City seems a reasonable argument for anyone doubting what Sarri can do at Chelsea, but at the same time the Catalan only remains in charge because the people above him saw beyond the scorelines.
“I know what he wants to do, I think this kind of person, these type of games always help to make our football better,” said Guardiola. “They beat us at Stamford Bridge and against Napoli last season it was tight, they were better at moments.
“People don’t understand how difficult the first year can be. My first season here was difficult. In my first year we could not play in the way I wanted. People think if you buy players, you can immediately come in and win, but you need time. It just depends on the belief of the owners – if the people really believe in that.
“The main reason I decided to come to Manchester City is because the bosses and especially the chairman Txiki [Begiristain] know me. When the situation is not going well, we try to find a solution. He doesn’t believe I’m bad when we lose and good when we win. That’s why I’m enjoying this period here in Manchester with this club.”