AAP Soccer

No Sarri talks with Chelsea’s big boss

By AAP Newswire

Maurizio Sarri says the humiliating Premier League loss at Manchester City did not prompt direct contact from Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich.

The Blues' 4-0 loss at Bournemouth last month was Chelsea's worst since September 1996, until City inflicted further embarrassment on the Londoners, who suffered their biggest defeat in 28 years.

After the Etihad Stadium setback, Sarri said in an interview with an Italian broadcaster that he "never" speaks to Abramovich, an owner not renowned for his patience.

Speaking before Thursday's Europa League last-32 first leg with Malmo in Sweden, Sarri insisted his comments about if he had spoken to Abramovich had been mistranslated.

"No, not this week; not in the last three weeks," Sarri said.

"I didn't say never. Not very often, but not never.

"The interview was in Italian and in Italian I am better than you.

"I'd like to speak with somebody in the club, not necessarily the owner.

"I usually speak with Marina (Granovskaia, the director) and for me it's enough."

There has been plenty of discussion with his players.

A 50-minute dressing room inquest followed the loss at Bournemouth on January 30, with an hour-long conversation held on Monday at Chelsea's Cobham training ground.

Sarri has been critical of his players' motivation, especially after the loss at Arsenal.

But he insisted motivation was not the issue against City but the problem was psychological.

"In my opinion, the last game was not a problem of motivation," he said.

"We were not able to react to the first difficulty during the match... after the first goal, we were not able to react.

"So the problem is different.

"But it's always a mind problem, a mental problem, so we need to solve them."

Chelsea face a crucial fortnight for their season - and, potentially, Sarri's future.

The Blues face Malmo either side of Monday's FA Cup fifth-round clash with Manchester United.

The League Cup final with City follows before a Premier League clash with Tottenham.

"We need short-term targets, and then a dream in the long-term," the 60-year-old Sarri said.

Left-back Marcos Alonso and midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek did not travel to Sweden.

Loftus-Cheek has suffered a recurrence of his persistent back problem but should be fit to be in contention to face United.

Sarri said Alonso has been rested and has "no physical problem".