4 February 2019

Cole: Blues Must Be Patient With Sarri  (Sky Sports)

Maurizio SarriChelsea manager Maurizio Sarri needs time to implement his 'Sarri-ball' philosophy but the players also need to buy into it, according to Ashley Cole.

The Blues have struggled for consistency under Sarri this season and lost 4-0 to Bournemouth in the Premier League on Wednesday before beating Huddersfield 5-0 on Saturday.

But former Chelsea left-back Cole believes the Italian manager needs time for his philosophy to work and the players must also put in the effort.

He told Monday Night Football: "I don't think he's under pressure just yet. He's come into a team and tried to put his philosophy there. I think it is down to the players as well, they've got to react and understand how he wants them to play.

"I watched 'Sarri-ball' at Napoli when I was in Italy and the football they played from the back with the goalkeeper was amazing. Now, all the players have got to get on board with that.

"I think it boils down to confidence. The Napoli players knew how he wanted them to play, they had the confidence to play it out of the back and they went with the philosophy. With Chelsea, some of the players have to get with it sooner rather than later but he's definitely a great manager.

"In terms of the players, if they win a few games then everything is rosy again. On recent results, top four wouldn't be enough.

"Sarri needs to get a little bit of time. I think he can bring that exciting, Italian football to England with Chelsea but they have to be on board a little bit as well."

Joining David Jones and Jamie Carragher for the evening, Cole looked back at the managers he had during his eight years at Chelsea - which also saw eight managerial changes - but the current Derby defender had plenty of praise for owner Roman Abramovich.

He added: "As players, you don't get involved in that [managerial changes] or think about it too much - you're there to win, regardless of which manager it is, you've got to do your job first and foremost.

"When you look at it, we won in the first year with a lot of managers and then in the second year there was a little dip and consequently, the manager ended up getting the sack, which is kind of sad really.

"I don't think players are involved in big decisions like that, it's always down to the owner, Roman, who for me, has been one of the greatest owners of a club in Premier League history. He has always backed the managers with money when they have wanted to buy players but that comes with expectations, you have to win.

"You're at Chelsea to win. I got that vibe when I first got to the club, Jose was there and he had done a great job two years before when he won the league and then six months to a year later, he got the sack. We took maybe one of the greatest managers ever and within two or three years of me being there, he was getting the sack.

"It's ruthless, but as an owner, you want to win. The owner didn't think he could get the results or play the way he wanted to play and that was it, he was gone. Chelsea always want to buy new players, they're always willing to invest but that comes with a consequence of if you don't win, you're out."

Cole also spent time playing with Eden Hazard at Stamford Bridge, and classes him as one of the best players he has ever played with.

He said: "Chelsea need Hazard to be on top form in every game. I don't know if it's a good thing or bad thing because you want more of the other players to step up their game but I think if Hazard gets injured, it will be difficult for Chelsea to keep fighting for the top four.

"He's got to be up here in the top three or four [of players Cole has played with]. What he can do with the ball, in training you wouldn't think it, he has his hands in his pockets and his laces undone, but when he gets on the pitch on a Saturday afternoon, he is electric.

"He can go left, he can go right, at times he is unplayable. I think he is a big player for them and you need him to keep firing on all cylinders."

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