Maurizio Sarri won silverware and returned Chelsea to the Champions League, but was he a success in England? We debate the Italian’s tenure.
After weeks of speculation, Maurizio Sarri has finally secured his exit from Chelsea, moving to Serie A champions Juventus on a three-year deal.
Sarri arrived at Stamford Bridge from Napoli ahead of the 2018-19 campaign, apparently set to change the way Chelsea played, installing a more expansive style.
Chelsea supporters never quite took to the Italian, though, and even the Europa League title and a place in next season’s Champions League did not appear to improve his standing.
So, will Sarri’s sole season in the Premier League ultimately be deemed a success? Omnisport writers Tom Webber and Ben Spratt argue either side.
SARRI WAS A SUCCESS – TW
Chelsea appointed Sarri because they wanted a coach capable of instilling a positive playing identity within the team.
There were plenty of times the Blues did not look particularly pleasing on the eye and the fans made their thoughts known with chants of “F*** Sarri-ball”.
However, the Italian was only a few months into his tenure when that started and he deserved to be given more time and support to carry out his remit.
Thank you and good luck for the future, Maurizio. pic.twitter.com/dGHzekBNPT
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) June 16, 2019
A third-place finish in the Premier League, only losing the EFL Cup final to Pep Guardiola’s incredible Manchester City and winning the Europa League title represented an impressive return from his debut season at Stamford Bridge.
Sarri’s sole year in charge was a success and it would have been great to see how Chelsea fared after a proper pre-season under the Italian, having spent too long wrangling with Napoli over compensation for his services.
He eventually gave Callum Hudson-Odoi more game time and helped Ruben Loftus-Cheek reach a level where he undoubtedly looked like becoming a long-term first-team regular, but it will be up to someone else to help them kick on.
SARRI WAS A FAILURE – BS
Chelsea supporters made their feelings on Sarri clear.
And, while results may ultimately have panned out, few could blame those following the Blues for airing their frustrations during some particularly dismal performances away from home in 2019.
Would Sarri, without the departed Eden Hazard, have been able to alter opinions on his style of play next season? It’s doubtful.
Given that the Italian was brought in to belatedly oversee a style of play to match the silverware successes of the past 15 years, it is fair to say those dissenting voices deemed the coach a failure in this regard.
39 – Maurizio Sarri won 39 matches in all competitions for Chelsea this season – the only manager to ever win more in his first season in charge of Chelsea was José Mourinho in the 2004-05 (42 wins). Special. pic.twitter.com/7ptpNog0RC
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) May 29, 2019
There is also a hunger to see some of their academy talents finally given a chance to shine.
Sarri took a long time to show trust in Hudson-Odoi and Loftus-Cheek and, even with a looming transfer ban, Fikayo Tomori, Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham surely would not have received the opportunities they deserve under the former Napoli boss.
In another era, when Chelsea would turn to Jose Mourinho to win and win ugly, Sarri might have been a success. But times are changing at Stamford Bridge and he was the wrong man.