LONDON (AFP) – Maurizio Sarri has the full support of the Chelsea players who have signed up to his philosophy, said David Luiz despite the manager blasting them in the wake of Saturday’s 2-0 defeat to Arsenal.
Luiz, who has become a pivotal figure in Sarri’s team after being sidelined last season by Antonio Conte, said it is remarkable how quickly Sarri has been successful in implementing his playing philosophy at the club.
While that was successful initially, Chelsea’s form has slumped of late with just two wins in their last five matches in all competitions.
Arsenal and a resurgent Manchester United are just three points off Chelsea, who occupy the fourth and last Champions League spot.
Sarri is trying to rectify the scoring problem by off-loading misfiring Spaniard Alvaro Morata and signing veteran Argentine Gonzalo Higuain who flourished under him at Napoli.
Luiz said the manager “was not happy” after the match “but nobody was happy, so it was normal”.
However, the 31-year-old Brazil international defender said the players were all behind Sarri.
“Everybody is trusting his job and everybody is with him,” said Luiz.
However, he said pointedly there was nothing wrong with the strategy and that they just need to be sharper in front of goal.
“It is our style, it is our philosophy,” said Luiz.
“I think if you asked at the beginning of the season, ‘can Chelsea keep the ball?’ – you would have said no.
“And now we are able to do that, like the best teams in the world, but then we have (to) improve our last 25 metres.”
Sarri has changed things around at the club.
Italy international Jorginho has been deployed in the central midfield role which has resulted in N’Golo Kante being moved to an unfamiliar wider role.
However, the biggest bone of contention has been his decision to use playmaker Eden Hazard as a “false nine” which has apparently not been to the player’s liking.
Luiz, though, is full of praise for Sarri.
“What Sarri has done until now is unbelievable, amazing, because normally (for) a team to understand this philosophy needs one or two years, like Manchester City and Liverpool, who are playing very well with the ball now,” said Luiz.