Maurizio Sarri questioned the attitude of his Chelsea players and accused some of over-confidence after they suffered a chastening 2-1 defeat at Wolverhampton that leaves them 10 points behind Manchester City, the Premier League leaders, before Saturday’s meeting between the two clubs at Stamford Bridge.
After taking the lead through Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Chelsea conceded twice in four second-half minutes, with Sarri dismayed at the way his players reacted to Raúl Jiménez’s equaliser. The Italian admitted he was “really worried” by what he had seen thereafter as Wolves turned the game on its head through Diogo Jota’s winner.
“I think we played very well for 55 minutes,” Sarri said. “After the first [Wolves] goal – that was an accident because we were in full control of the match – we were suddenly another team, without the right distances, without our football. I don’t know why. I am really worried not for the result but for the fact that we didn’t react to the first goal of the opponent.”
Chelsea manager made five changes to his starting XI but said that neither his team selection nor a couple of controversial refereeing decisions – Álvaro Morata had a strong penalty appeal turned down and Willian felt he was fouled prior to Wolves scoring their second – came into his thinking when he analysed Chelsea’s performance.
“I think it’s more important to talk about our attitude after the first goal,” he said. “We were not the same team as before. So I don’t want to discuss if there was a foul on Willian or not. It’s not important for me. Maybe it was for the result, but not for me. I have to understand why the team was suddenly another team.”
Sarri said taking on Pep Guardiola’s side is now a daunting prospect. “For me, City is the best team in Europe and maybe in the world. So the match is difficult for this reason. Of course, after this match, we lost confidence, but maybe it’s better because sometimes my players show me that they have too much confidence.”