Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri felt his players paid the price for a poor reaction to falling behind in Saturday’s 1-0 loss to Leicester City
Chelsea were beaten at Stamford Bridge for the first time under Maurizio Sarri thanks to Jamie Vardy’s emphatic counter-attacking goal in the 51st minute.
Chelsea twice hit the woodwork through Eden Hazard and Marcos Alonso – the latter in second-half injury-time – and Sarri, who vented his frustration at one stage by throwing his jacket, rued the way his side failed to respond to adversity.
“I was hot,” Sarri said in response to questions about his coat.
“I think we played very well for 55 minutes, we played very good football. After the goal the reaction was, for me, a strange reaction, not in the right direction, not as a team but as 11 different players and so it was very strange.
“I think we could have done better in the reaction. We only had to continue to play as in the first part of the match, there was time to score without a reaction as a team shocked, as a team in mental confusion.”
It was Chelsea’s third defeat in their past six Premier League games, and it was put to Sarri that the loss was similar to the 2-1 reverse at Wolves this month.
Asked why dips in performances occur, Sarri replied: “I don’t know. If I knew I would solve the problem before the match. We have players with experience, it is difficult to understand.
“It is important to play again in four days. Maybe positive, maybe negative, it depends on our reaction. It depends on the next three days. It is important to play immediately.”
Chelsea are 11 points adrift of leaders Liverpool heading into a busy Christmas period, but Sarri says challenging for the title was never going to be a realistic aim in his debut season.
“From the beginning I said it was impossible to play for the top. As we said, starting from July,” he said.