Chelsea’s Maurizio Sarri is convinced he can power through issues

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 24: Maurizio Sarri, Manager of Chelsea reacts during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea FC at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on November 24, 2018 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 24: Maurizio Sarri, Manager of Chelsea reacts during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea FC at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on November 24, 2018 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images) /
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Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri is nothing if not a man of conviction. He is sure that his current path will eventually yield different results.

Maurizio Sarri does not like change. Even before he came to Chelsea he was a man who favored the same lineup with the same tactics in the same way every single weekend. When he does deviate, it is such a rare occurrence that it becomes noteworthy.

Sarri’s recent presser has caused a lot of controversy, but a note not being picked up on is the fact that Sarri believes the squad is good as it is.

Whenever Chelsea has lost or dropped points this season, Sarri has pointed the finger towards the squad’s mentality or their execution. The truth is that the squad has only ever done exactly as Sarri has asked, far more than they have with managers doing better than Sarri in fact. There is very much a sense that Sarri’s football has always been a stylistic clash with the players at the club. The manager has been trying to teach fish how to climb a tree and it has shown.

If Chelsea could avoid a transfer ban this summer and back Sarri with a warchest, things would likely improve next season. But even if that were to happen, Sarri does not believe new players will fix things. No, he instead thinks he can fix the mentality issues.

But what has Sarri actually done to improve the mentality besides mouthing off to reporters about how he does not know why these issues exist? What has he done to improve the execution of play when the same patterns have been found out since November if not sooner?

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The answer is that he has not done anything. Sarri continues to forge ahead with his way even if it does not work. In a way, it is admirable. But admirable convictions rarely survive contact with the Premier League, especially at the top end of the table.

Pep Guardiola adapted to the league. Jurgen Klopp did as well. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Mauricio Pochettino, and Unai Emery adapt weekly. Sarri adapts once in a blue moon for a match or two before returning to “his way” with the same results.

On some level, Sarri surely knows that this is not sustainable. But he has made so few decisions and choices that have pointed towards the long term that it will not matter for him. Sarri does not care what the fans think and he only cares about his way. And when he leaves, which will be sooner rather than later based on how he has acted overall, the Blues will be left to clean up the damage caused by his steadfastness to his brand.

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Sarrismo in Italy might have been everything that was ever advertised. But it is not that in the Premier League without a much different squad. But if Sarri thinks he can just force his way through the wall through sheer force of will, he will see himself elsewhere in short order.