Chelsea vs Leicester: Maurizio Sarri says clubs ‘are not ready’ for sports psychology after seeing Blues crumble

After Jamie Vardy's smash-and-grab goal in the second half, Chelsea collapsed into panicky disarray

Tom Kershaw@trlkershaw
Sunday 23 December 2018 17:22
Chelsea: A look back at 2018

Maurizio Sarri claimed that football clubs "aren’t ready" for sports psychology after seeing his Chelsea side collapse to their first home defeat in 13 games against Leicester on Saturday.

Chelsea were dominating the match, enjoying almost 80 per cent of possession, up until Jamie Vardy’s smash-and-grab goal after the interval. Yet from thereon, Sarri’s side seemed to completely negate their tactics and abandon his preferred two-touch passing philosophy, instead overcome by a panicked and ultimately wasteful urgency.

After such an imperious start to the season, the result condemned Chelsea to their third defeat in the last four weeks, and afterwards Sarri admitted that the problem is not a physical one, questioning how his side could crumble so significantly after conceding an “unlucky” goal.

But when pushed on whether he might consider using a sports psychologist, Sarri admitted that it was something that he had unsuccessfully experimented with in the past and that he still felt football clubs weren’t ready.

“No [we don’t have one]. Not at the moment, because it’s not easy. I had a sports psychologist 15 years ago in Italy, it was really very difficult because the clubs were not ready in that moment, but I think that they are not ready also in this moment.

“The physical performance, I don’t know the numbers today but in the match against Bournemouth, it was one of the best of the season, maybe the best in quality. I don’t think it’s possible for the physical conditioning to change in two minutes. Today we were very well for 55 minutes and two minutes after the goal we were in trouble so I think there is another reason.

“We lost the match because the reaction after the goal was in the wrong direction, I think we had only to continue. We were in full control of the match. We were dangerous without conceding anything to the opponents so we had only to continue.”

Sarri also stated that he believes Chelsea have too many players in their squad ahead of the January transfer window, particularly in the attacking midfield area. However, he did concede that would allow him to rotate his starting eleven with two London derbies to come in the next seven days – first at Watford, then at Crystal Palace – and guaranteed that Ruben Loftus-Cheek would start in one of those games.

“At the moment we are too many. We have 28 players and it’s impossible to use all of them. I think 25 is the right number.

“You already know my opinion, because I’ve told you in the past. We have a lot of offensive midfielders and we have only [N’Golo] Kante as a defensive midfielder so it’s not easy now for the midfield to have the right balance.”

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