Back in February after a 4-0 defeat at Bournemouth I went on record to say that Chelsea should ignore the haters in both media and on the terraces and keep faith in their Italian Coach Maurizio Sarri and just let him do his job.
That job has now all but ended with Sarri & Chelsea finishing third in the Premier League all be it someway behind the dominant forces of Manchester City and Liverpool but with Champions League qualification secured, they convincingly won the Europa League Final against Arsenal in Baku last night and made another domestic final in the League Cup earlier this year which they were unlucky to lose out on via the lottery of spot kicks against a team in Manchester City highly predicted to give them a thumping.
On record, it looks like Chelsea have had a good year. Better than last season when they finished fifth and won the FA Cup under Antonio Conte. Steady progress with a new Coach at the helm, something to build on you might think? But in speaking to and listening to fans and reading the newspapers, mags, blogs and hearing the Media preachers constantly pray on their hatred of Sarriball I’m actually guessing not?
People just don’t like the way Sarri does football, they don’t like the way he interacts with them or others on a personal level, they don’t like the way he always looks miserable, the way he doesn’t play players where they think he should and the way he doesn’t play the Chelsea way (whatever that is)…
These people (especially those in the media) all have a high opinion and high regard (much higher than mine) but that doesn’t make them right. Our culture of wanting, no demanding everything instantly with bells and tassels is severely clouding our judgement on what is right…Like giving something enough time before you judge its achievements?
For example nothing is better than a Guinness poured properly… Or a cup of tea with the bag left to stew in the pot… But these take time to brew & pour… We might get to drink them quicker if they are hurriedly poured, instantly rushed and not left to stand so long but that doesn’t make them taste any better in the long run. Football, Cricket, Golf, Snooker… it’s all the same. We’ve heard about shortening the overs in cricket to 100 balls to fit ‘today’s market criteria’… Nonsense.. Test Match Cricket is fine as it is and has been for 150 years… We’ve heard the rumours of making golf and snooker quicker to play so our slobby TV audience can understand it better. Shot clock violations, music and shorter matches to ‘get more kids into it’… Again just leave it as it is because those who understand it understand it because of what it is… And football… Well we don’t look back on 150 years of history thinking “I wish our club had been through 150 Managers in that time”… In fact we are proud of those clubs that don’t sack managers willy nilly and ‘just because’. Many of us (like me) don’t like the way Chelsea do things… Many of us still respect those that respect tradition (let alone contracts)… and many of us understand that not everyone can win… and even if they don’t it doesn’t mean that they are doing a bad job. My point let’s judge on merits, let’s not be so quick to criticise and try and understand the bigger picture when you do hastily make your judgement.
For what its worth I think Sarri has done a fantastic job at Chelsea. This is a football club that in my opinion thinks for the day and doesn’t care about tomorrow so much. It is a money making franchise making use of loopholes in the system that is designed to instantly challenge for trophies to keep attracting fans to its stadium and new players to its club in order to continue winning more trophies beyond but doesn’t really have a plan B for if it all goes tits up.
Chelsea under Sarri have managed to do what Chelsea set out to do… But in most likely losing their star asset Eden Hazard next season, it will be more difficult for them to do the same or better, especially with a proposed transfer ban over their heads. It could be a troublesome and turbulent year ahead if Sarri sticks around.
For the 60 year old Neopolitan, recently touted with the Juventus job simply because the Italians see that he is a good coach, one that has now won a major honour and one that can play in a way that Italians like the game to be played, he maybe the perfect fit? If I were him I would get out now, leave SW6 for good head held high and take the job of the best team in Italian football, because I don’t think if he stays around any longer he’ll get the respect he deserves in England that despite winning more silverware in his debut season in this country than Pep Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp & Mauricio Pochettino did in all their first years combined.