LONDON – Chelsea defender David Luiz insists there has been no dressing room revolt against manager Maurizio Sarri’s tactics despite a 6-0 mauling at Manchester City last weekend.
Sarri has been criticised for refusing to adapt his style, even on the road against the best opponents.
The Blues bounced back by beating Malmo 2-1 in the Europa League on Thursday, but tougher tests lie in wait with the visit of Manchester United in the FA Cup fifth round on Monday, followed by a reunion with City in the League Cup final on February 24.
“Yes, (we have an) amazing future,” Luiz told reporters after victory in Sweden. “We have had many meetings already, asking if someone doesn’t believe.
“Nobody said anything. It’s because everyone believes.”
The humiliating nature of Chelsea’s heaviest ever Premier League defeat raised serious questions over former Napoli coach Sarri’s future, just eight months into a three-year contract.
But Luiz believes the Italian needs time to implement his ideas, just as City boss Pep Guardiola and Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp did early in their time in England.
“We lost against maybe the best team in the world at the moment in Manchester City,” added Luiz.
“We lost a few matches because it is part of the process. The teams that are at the top of the table now are ones with managers who have been there for more than three years.
“There is a big difference when you have already understood everything – it is much easier to play football.
“I think we are in the right way to still improve to become a fantastic team.”
‘I am happy because we played with a very good level of confidence, and that was not easy after the last match.'— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) February 15, 2019
Should Chelsea continue to stumble in the Premier League, winning the Europa League may represent their best chance of Champions League qualification.
Goals from Ross Barkley and Olivier Giroud put them well on course for the last-16 in Malmo, but Sarri was concerned by the slack defending that allowed Anders Christiansen to pull a goal back.
“If we concede a goal like this to a team like Manchester City or United or Tottenham, then you risk conceding three goals in 10 minutes,” said Sarri. “So, we have to do better.”