It was a frustrating evening for Maurizio Sarri as he watched his side succumb to two first-half goals from Alexandre Lacazette and Laurent Koscielny which condemned Chelsea to a 2-0 defeat against the Gunners and cut our lead over our London rivals to just three points in the battle for a top-four spot.
Sarri lost his cool in front of the media for the first time and was left furious, switching to his native Italian for his post-match media conference where he called out his players – “to send a message to my players and I want my message to be very clear,” he said – as the 60-year-old attacked his their attitude and personalities.
“I have to say, I’m extremely angry. Very angry indeed,” Sarri said.
“This defeat was due to our mentality, more than anything else.
“This is something I can’t accept.
“This group of players are extremely difficult to motivate.”
“It seems to me that, as a group of players, they’re not particularly aggressive from a mental point of view,” he added.
“They don’t have that ferocity in their mentality. That’s down to the type of players they are, their characteristics.
“It’s something that is difficult to change. It could take quite a long time.”
According to a report on the Mirror, Sarri has reportedly held clear-the-air talks with his Chelsea players ahead of the visit of Tottenham for the Carabao Cup semi-final second leg clash.
Sarri has been criticised from many quarters for calling out his team in public, but Chelsea defender David Luiz has backed the manager and believes he can turn things around at the club.
“He was not happy, but nobody was happy, so it was normal,” said the Brazilian following the defeat at the Emirates.
“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.
“It is part of the process, when you try to do something and this is inside your mind, if you believe in it you can arrive there.
“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, so 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 Man City and Liverpool, who are playing very well with the ball now.
“What he has done has been amazing, so we have to try to improve the details now. I don’t think so [that players are turning], everybody is trusting his job and everybody is with him.”