MAURIZIO SARRI is copying Pep Guardiola at Chelsea.
That’s according to journalist Gabriele Marcotti, who believes the Italian’s insistence on sticking with plan A is straight out of Guardiola’s playbook.
Sarri is under huge pressure at Stamford Bridge after the Blues slumped to their heaviest Premier League defeat in 23 years away at Bournemouth on Wednesday.
Goals from David Brooks and Charlie Daniels, along with a Josh King brace, meant they were on the wrong end of a 4-0 hammering at the Vitality Stadium.
After the defeat, Sarri said he will try to execute his current system to a greater effect instead of switch to another – and Marcotti thinks he is adopting the same approach as Manchester City boss Guardiola.
“Plan A, Plan B, and he referred to it again in the press conference too, it’s something that Johan Cruyff used to say, it’s something that Pep Guardiola borrowing from Johan Cruyff used to say, and it’s part of Sarri’s idea, if Plan A doesn’t work, execute Plan A better,” he told ESPN FC.
“Don’t switch to Plan B if you think Plan A is the right plan. When you screw up, it’s either because you have a wrong plan or you’re not executing you’re original plan better – and he thinks his plan is the right one and time will tell if that’s the case.
“But that’s not why he’s gonna go and change everything around and put [N’Golo] Kante in front of the back four or whatever, because that’s not his plan.
“Pep Guardiola explained this too. Because remember, last season in October people went to him and they said: ‘oh look, you changed. Because in your first season you finished fourth and everybody made fun of you when [Gael] Clichy and Bacary Sagna ended up in the middle of the park and whatever else.’
“And he came out and said: ‘no, the concepts are exactly the same. Sometimes we tweak the formation but the ideas are the same, the concept is the same, the philosophy is the same. But the people had to go and understand the philosophy first and then they could go and make the change.’
“Pep also made the point about in his first season why he didn’t rotate very much, he said: ‘because you can only teach this if you work with 12 to 14 players.’ That’s something Sarri alluded to as well.
“You can think that Sarri’s a fool because he thinks he’s Pep Guardiola and he’s trying to copy Pep’s stuff, but this is directly out of Pep’s playbook.
“Maybe Pep just does it better, maybe Pep’s a better manager, maybe he has better players, maybe he’s had more time, maybe it’s all of the above. But it’s not like he’s gone insane, he’s following this playbook.”
Many fear for Sarri’s future at Stamford Bridge after Wednesday night’s horror show on the coast, pointing to Roman Abramovich’s notoriously itchy trigger finger as a cause for concern.
But Marcotti thinks the idea Chelsea are a mad sacking club is a ‘myth’.
“This business about Chelsea being this incredibly impatient club, certainly Sarri’s been at more or just as impatient clubs in the past, but it’s also kind of a myth,” he said.
“The last two managers Chelsea went through, [Antonio] Conte and [Jose] Mourinho, Conte effectively sacked himself and Mourinho got the whole club in all sorts of legal issues and the brink of the relegation zone.
“Before that, you actually go through it, and don’t count the interim coaches and all that nonsense, and you see that actually Chelsea are not this mad sacking club, Abramovich is in a different place and time in his life right now, I don’t think he’s the same guy as he was 10 years ago.”