Maurizio Sarri does not fear the sack after Chelsea’s sorry show against Manchester United

Things are not going well for the Italian in West London. (AFP)
Updated 19 February 2019
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Maurizio Sarri does not fear the sack after Chelsea’s sorry show against Manchester United

  • Italian still focused on job at hand with Blues out the FA Cup and falling in the Premier League.
  • Sarri has lost the fans in a short space of time at Stamford Bridge. (AFP)

LONDON: Maurizio Sarri insists he is not worried about being sacked as Chelsea manager despite his troubled side’s lacklustre FA Cup surrender against Manchester United.
Sarri faces a fight to save his job after FA Cup holders Chelsea crashed to a 2-0 fifth round defeat at Stamford Bridge on Monday.
Ander Herrera headed United into the lead from Paul Pogba’s cross in the 31st minute.
France star Pogba doubled United’s advantage on the stroke of half-time when he met Marcus Rashford’s cross with a diving header.
Sarri endured chants of “you don’t know what you’re doing” and “you’re getting sacked in the morning” as furious Chelsea fans showed their frustration at the club’s fifth defeat in their last 10 games.
Chelsea’s stars, publicly criticized by their manager on several occasions this term, hardly looked to be battling to keep the Italian as they failed to muster a shot on target after the 11th minute.
Sarri’s fragile relationship with his players, combined with the mutinous atmosphere among supporters, increased the feeling that the former Napoli boss might not survive until the end of his first season with Chelsea.
Demanding Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has acted quickly in the past when managers have been perceived to have lost the support of the squad.
But Sarri is adamant he isn’t concerned about his perilous position and he claimed he is solely focused on salvaging his club’s turbulent season.
Asked if he was worried Abramovich might be ready to wield the axe, Sarri said: “It’s not my problem.
“I was only worried about my position when I was in League 2 in Italy, not now.
“I am worried about the results, not about the fans. Of course I can understand the situation.
“I can understand our fans, because the result wasn’t really good. We are out of the FA Cup.”
Following widespread reports that Sarri’s players are underwhelmed by his stubborn refusal to change his tactics, the 60-year-old did make the alarming admission that he wasn’t certain he still had their backing.
“Of course I’m not sure, but I think so. I think the situation with the players is very good in terms of our relationship but that’s not so important,” he said.
“What’s important is to play and get good results.”
Chelsea supporters called for their club’s former legend Frank Lampard, now in charge at Derby, to be hired and directed foul-mouthed abuse at Sarri.
“Not really very well, but sometimes yes. For everything there is the first time,” he said when quizzed on if he heard the taunts from his own fans.
Sarri believes his situation will be improved significantly if Chelsea can string together a winning run, starting with Thursday’s Europa League last 32 second leg against Malmo and the League Cup final against Manchester City on Sunday.
“It’s really very easy. If we are able to win three or four matches in a row, it will be easy. Of course it’s difficult to win five matches in a row,” he said with a curious smirk that suggested he didn’t really believe his own outward optimism.
“We need of course more aggression, more determination in the situation inside our box and inside the opposing box.
“My job is to work with my players to try and improve in a few days because we conceded the second goal without determination or aggression.
“The difference was there. We played 78 balls in the opposing box and United only 16 balls our box. We are supposed to win.”
Having previously questioned whether his players understood his football philosophy, Sarri repeated that complaint.
“Not completely at the moment because, especially in a situation like the second half, we have to move the ball faster mentally and materially,” he said.
“We need more movements without the ball and less individual actions.”


Celtic win Scottish Cup to complete ‘treble treble’

Updated 47 min 20 sec ago
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Celtic win Scottish Cup to complete ‘treble treble’

  • Club appoint Neil Lennon as manager on a permanent basis

GLASGOW, Scotland: Celtic claimed an unprecedented third consecutive domestic treble after coming from behind to win the Scottish Cup by beating Hearts 2-1 thanks to Odsonne Edouard’s double at Hampden on Saturday.

The Hoops were on course for a first domestic cup defeat in 27 games when Ryan Edwards shot Hearts into a shock lead seven minutes into the second half.

However, Celtic quickly responded when Edouard leveled from the penalty spot and the Frenchman sealed another clean sweep of silverware by racing clear to score the winner eight minutes from time.

Neil Lennon was offered the Celtic manager's job on a permanent basis.

Despite consolidating an eight-point lead when Brendan Rodgers left the Scottish champions to take charge of Leicester in February to win an eighth straight Scottish Premiership, and now the Scottish Cup, Lennon had faced criticism for his side’s performances and style of play.

Celtic were again disjointed for long spells and could easily have been beaten but for a bit more quality and composure from a Hearts side missing a host of key players through injury. Edouard had the only decent chance of a poor first 45 minutes when he was played in by Tom Rogic, but John Souttar slid in to make a brave block.

Hearts had not won in five games since their semifinal victory over second-tier Inverness, but they made the breakthrough with their first big chance of the game.

Sixteen-year-old Aaron Hickey fed Arnaud Djoum on the edge of the area, his miscued shot found its way to Sean Clare who backheeled to find the free Edwards to slot home.

Celtic seemed to need the shock of going behind to snap into action and leveled within 10 minutes.

Edouard was tripped by Hearts goalkeeper Zdenek Zlamal, although contact was minimal and referee Willie Collum pointed to the spot.

Zlamal could have made amends, but did not get a strong enough hand to Edouard’s penalty to keep it out.

Celtic paid a club record £9 million ($11 million) for Edouard from Paris Saint-Germain 11 months ago and he took his tally for the season to 23 when Mikael Lustig’s forward header somehow evaded the whole Hearts defense.

Edouard kept his cool to slot past the advancing Zlamal and seal Celtic’s sixth domestic treble.

 

Tuchel extends deal to 2021

Also on Saturday, Paris Saint-Germain coach Thomas Tuchel has extended his deal with the French Ligue 1 champions through to June 2021, the club announced.

The 45-year-old German took over in June 2018 and despite winning Ligue 1 has come under scrutiny after the Parisian club’s defeat to Manchester United in the Champions League last 16.

The news cuts short speculation that PSG’s owners would fire Tuchel and hire outgoing Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri.

“I’m delighted to extend my contract and commitment to Paris Saint-Germain,” Tuchel said.

“I’d like to thank the chairman and the whole club for their trust in me and my staff. This only reinforces my ambition to bring this team to the very top through hard work,” he told the club website

“I’m also very touched by the backing of our supporters, and I’m sure that the best is yet to come for our club.”