Emmanuel Petit: It looks like Maurizio Sarri is losing the plot

The World Cup-winner and former Chelsea midfielder reckons Maurizio Sarri's reign at Stamford Bridge may be drawing to a close...


Should Chelsea sack Maurizio Sarri?

Over the last few games, I have seen some things on the pitch that makes me wonder why Maurizio Sarri wants to keep going with his current approach. Sarri said he is a strong man, that he has a vision for the team and will ignore the critics, especially in relation to Jorginho and N’golo Kanté.

He said that he would stick to his guns. I understand and I appreciate that – I respect it – but I think he has forgotten something very important: he doesn’t have to convince the press or the fans, he has to convince his players. And for the moment it’s difficult to believe his players are confident about the way they play and the way he wants them to play.

What I saw on Sunday against Manchester City said a lot: poor performances individually and collectively; no rage on the pitch; the body language. Sarri said himself he didn’t know whether or not he could motivate his team. In terms of communication, the last few weeks have been bad for him.

What he did after the City game – not shaking Pep Guardiola’s hand – showed a lack of respect. So I think he’s in big trouble mentally, and he’s in big trouble when it comes to showing his players he’s still the right man.

So should Sarri be sacked right now? When Roman Abramovich feels the pressure like this, he doesn’t dwell on feelings, he just cuts down the tree. He did it with Jose Mourinho and he did it with Antonio Conte after winning the Premier League, so he will have no emotion about doing the same with Sarri.

If the next result is a bad result, that could be the last game for him.

What we have here is a failure to communicate

The main problem for me is the communication. If you want to manage in a different country, you have to learn the language. Communication is one of the most important things for a manager, and you cannot manage a team if you don’t speak the same language.

Every time I see Sarri trying to speak English, it reminds me of a lot of foreign managers who come to the Premier League with big dreams but somewhere they forget that the priority for them is communication. They have to show the players what they want and how they want them to play. If Sarri can’t speak English well, it’s a big big problem for him on top of everything else.

N’golo Kanté and Eden Hazard

Sarri’s decision to move Kanté away from his original position, where he was probably the best in the world over the past two or three years, surprised me. Kanté says he’s learning and taking pleasure in this new position. He doesn’t want to make waves – we all know in France how humble Kanté is, so he will never cause trouble. But can anyone explain why you move Kanté our of his best position in favour of Jorginho?

I’d never heard of Jorginho before he went to Chelsea, and I’ve nothing against him, but does he fit in the Premier League? When you have players who play well in a certain position, why would you move them somewhere else?

Eden Hazard’s best position is on the left-hand side. He’s terrific there. Sure, he can play as a number ten or even as a number nine, but he won’t be the same Hazard. He will still score goals and provide assists for the other players, but his responsibility at the heart of the Chelsea game won’t be the same. Higuain has arrived to help solve this problem, but if Juventus let him go it’s probably because they saw something.

I understand that a manager has to stick with his views and opinions, even sometimes against his own players’ thinking – because maybe he’s right – but I’m pretty sure that Sarri is very nervous. His body language in a recent press conference showed this, as did what he did with Guardiola on Sunday. Things like this shouldn’t happen, and when they do you show everyone – fans, journalists, players – that you’re losing the plot.

Gianfranco Zola is 5/2 favourite to be the next permanent Chelsea manager