Chelsea players are 'extremely hard to motivate', says Maurizio Sarri

Chelsea players are 'extremely hard to motivate', says Maurizio Sarri

Manager Maurizio Sarri said it seems his Chelsea players are "very hard to motivate" as he heavily criticised their performance in defeat by Arsenal.

Chelsea's only defeat in their prior 14 Premier League games against Arsenal was the 3-0 loss in September 2016 which saw Antonio Conte make dramatic changes, leading to a run of 13 successive wins and the 2016-17 title.

Sarri was left furious, switching to his native Italian for his post-match media conference - "to send a message to my players and I want my message to be very clear", he said - as the 60-year-old attacked their attitude and personalities.

Arsenal picked up a comfortable 2-0 victory against Chelsea on Saturday night. "This defeat was due to our mentality, more than anything else". I can't accept it.

"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".

"The best thing that can happen is that the players and I talk very openly about what happens".

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"It seems to me that as a group of players they are not particularly aggressive from a mental point of view", he said. "If one player is coming to help us, I am happy but the club is doing that and I am going to wait". Tactics don't come into it. If you think about their determination and how clinical they were when they scored the goals, in defence we stood off a lot and we were not determined and not strong enough. "We could have lost it for tactical reasons and technical reasons". We lost it because of our determination.

"I don't think a player at this level can't be afraid to face up to their responsibilities. We have to share it". "If any player was afraid of that, then they would not be playing at this level in the first place". "They don't have that ferocity in their mentality".

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Sarri insists the mentality of his players must improve, hinting at personnel changes before the January transfer window is over.

However, Mourinho sided with Sarri by saying he thinks Kante "can play everywhere" and suggested that Aaron Ramsey's man-marking of Jorginho was a more decisive factor in Chelsea's defeat. "This is a team that's never going to be known for its battling qualities".

But, the win means they're instead just three points behind, and it's all to play for as we get into the business end of the campaign. Their pressing in the first half was relentless as Ramsey pressed from the front to limit the supply to Jorginho, who so often dictates the play for Chelsea.

Opting to speak through his Italian translator because he didn't want to make a mistake in his English, Sarri proceeded to throw his players under the proverbial bus before then shifting over them and backing into reverse over their dismantled, lifeless bodies for good measure.