FA holders beaten 2-0 at home by Manchester United
‘I am worried about results, not the fans,’ says Sarri
Maurizio Sarri is clinging to his job after Chelsea’s defence of the FA Cup was wrecked by Manchester United and the home supporters took out their frustrations on the manager.
Boos greeted the whistle at half-time and full-time, with discontent at Sarri’s substitutions spilling over in the second half of the 2-0 fifth-round defeat.
A chant of “fuck Sarri-ball” went up from large numbers of supporters in the Matthew Harding end and there were calls for Frank Lampard’s appointment. Chelsea fans eventually joined in with the United contingent’s provocative refrain of “You’re getting sacked in the morning”.
The owner, Roman Abramovich, who has not attended a game this season, was absent again and the chairman, Bruce Buck, was the most visible member of the Chelsea hierarchy in attendance.
Sarri expects to report to the training ground on Tuesday to oversee preparations for the second leg of the Europa League last-32 tie against Malmö on Thursday. The Carabao Cup final against Manchester City and a visit from Tottenham in the Premier League follow.
Sarri heard the fans’ chants. “Not really very well but sometimes,” he said. Asked if he had ever been subjected to such a scathing assessment of his footballing philosophy, he added: “No – but for everything there is a first time. I am worried about the results. Not about the fans. I can understand the situation and our fans, because the result wasn’t really good. We are out of the FA Cup , so I can understand our fans. But I am worried at the moment about our results.
“It’s really very easy [to repair the relationship with the supporters]. If we are able to win three or four matches in a row, it will be really very easy. Am I worried about my job? No. I was really very worried when I was in League Two in Italy. Not now.”
United, who lost their first game under Ole Gunnar Solksjær last week to Paris Saint-Germain , were the more aggressive team throughout, with Chelsea guilty of the same kind of sloppiness that reared up recently in heavy defeats by Bournemouth and City.
“I think the players are with me,” Sarri said. “I am not sure but I think so. I think the situation with the players is a really very good relationship but the relationship is not so important. It’s important to play, it’s important to get good results.
“It is not my problem [whether the board still support him]. My problem is to start [preparing] for the game tomorrow morning and to work with my players to try to improve in a few days, and find more determination, more aggression.
“We conceded the second goal without determination or aggression. We need all to improve because I am not able to get out of my players a very high level of aggression and determination. The same for the other leaders in the dressing room, I think.”
United, who lost the final to Antonio Conte’s Chelsea last season but have now won seven away games in succession under Solskjær, will travel to Wolves in the quarter-finals with momentum restored and the caretaker manager’s prospects of securing the position full-time enhanced.
“That was massive,” he said. “You want to see a reaction after PSG, and we were quite confident going into this game that we had found the right team selection and temperament.
“We’ve got to build on the positives. We play Liverpool next week, but Chelsea, Arsenal and us will fight for that fourth position. There are three good teams fighting for that one position. This was about getting through to the next round, not the top four.”