A lot of positive comments flowed about Maurizio Sarri’s style of football when the former Napoli coach was appointed as the Chelsea manager at the start of the 2018-19 campaign. The 61-year-old was even looked up upon by Pep Guardiola when it comes to the style of football. Yet, blues legend Gianfranco Zola has claimed that Eden Hazard and Willian were unable to make a major impact under the boring football employed by Sarri, who lasted just one season at Stamford Bridge.
According to beIN Sports, Zola said: “They were talented players, like Hazard and Willian, players who know how to win games on their own, but they were suffering from the type of exercises and type of training we were doing – but it was necessary for the others.
“I’ll be honest, they were brilliant because they got bored, but they kept doing it throughout and that was the reason why when everyone was dropping we were going up towards the end.”
This is quite a remarkable statement from Zola, who has seen his managerial career suffer due to a lack of results even if the football was relatively good. Yet, the numbers tell a different story considering that Hazard had his most productive campaign under Sarri. The Belgian international produced a return of 21 goals in 52 games, which is just one goal less than his most successful campaign – his final season at Lille.
William, though, saw a big drop in his returns, as the Brazilian only scored eight goals in 56 games – his lowest tally since the 2015-16 campaign. Even though Sarri has had rave reviews for creating a specific brand of football, the desire to have more possession – in a bid to control a match – did test the patience of Chelsea fans on numerous occasions.
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