Furious Maurizio Sarri insists Chelsea players are ‘extremely difficult to motivate’ after Arsenal defeat

The Blues were soundly beaten by the Gunners at the Emirates after goals from Alexandre Lacazette and Laurent Koscielny

Maurizio Sarri furious at Chelsea team after defeat to Arsenal

A furious Maurizio Sarri has lambasted the mental attitude of his Chelsea squad, saying “this group of players are extremely difficult to motivate”, amid a series of criticisms of his teams after the tepid 2-0 defeat at Arsenal.

The 60-year-old declared himself so “extremely angry” that he insisted on speaking Italian in his post-game press conference in order to send a message to his players, and ensure none of it was lost in translation.

Sarri thereafter repeatedly questioned the motivation of his players, and said the nature of the defeat was not tactical but due to “determination”, lamenting how Arsenal showed much more of it.

“Today I prefer to speak Italian first of all because I want to send a message to my players, and I want my message to be very clear,” the Chelsea boss began. “I don’t want to make mistakes with my English.”

“I have to say that I’m extremely angry, very angry indeed. This defeat was due to our mentality more than anything else, our mental approach. We played against a team which mentally was far more determined than we were. And this is something I can’t accept that. We had a similar issue in the league game at Tottenham [Hotspur]. We spoke a great deal about that loss and our approach at the time, and I spoke to the players, and I thought we’d overcome this issue. But it appears we still have this issue and we still seem to lack sufficient motivation and being mentally solid and our determination. So I’m not happy, I’m really not happy. I’d prefer to come in to the press room, be in the changing room and speak to the players and speak to you now, to talk about the tactics, about why we lost from a tactical point of view, but the fact of the matter is it appears this group of players are extremely difficult to motivate.”

“Well, I think when you see this kind of game, when one team is quite obviously more determined than the other, you can’t really talk about tactics. From a technical point of view both teams are pretty much on the same level, but they were more determined. Tactics don’t come into it. Their high level of determination was obvious throughout… I think that we lost it because of our determination. But I couldn’t possibly say I am not responsible as well, in part at least, for the mental approach. That’s something we have to share.”

When asked how he could change that mentality, Sarri said it was something he has to figure out, as he stressed his players are just not wired in that way. He did suggest a new signing – with a deal for Gonzalo Higuain expected this week – could help

Maurizio Sarri has been left furious by Chelsea’s performance at Arsenal

“It’s difficult to answer that. It seems to me that, as a group of players, they’re not particularly aggressive from a mental point of view. 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. You have to try and influence their mentality and it could take quite a long time, or, by the same token, it could be changed with a new player coming in or one of the old heads in the team assuming more responsibility and driving the rest of the team forward. Certainly it is difficult to give a clear cut answer.

“Yes, absolutely. I’m very aware of the fact this is never going to be a team well known for its battling and fighting qualities. From a technical point of view, those aren’t the characteristics that we have.

“But what we need to become is a team capable of adapting, a team that can perhaps suffer for 10-15 minutes during the game but then play our own football. Today we didn’t play our own football.”

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