News Live Scores

'Chelsea stars must recognise importance of season-defining games' - Cole insists Sarri not to blame for poor form

4:30 PM GMT 18/02/2019
Chelsea Eden Hazard
The Blues boss has been under increasing pressure following three comprehensive away defeats in recent weeks, culminating in a 6-0 loss to Man City

Chelsea's players must recognise the importance of a crucial run of fixtures in the next two weeks, insists former Blues winger Joe Cole, who believes Maurizio Sarri is doing a good job.

Pressure has mounted on Sarri after consecutive away losses to Arsenal, Bournemouth and Manchester City in recent weeks, culminating in the 6-0 defeat at the Etihad Stadium.

Sarri is now in desperate need of results ahead of his side facing Manchester United in the FA Cup fifth round on Monday night before playing Malmo in the Europa League and Manchester City in the Carabao Cup final.

The Blues also host Tottenham in the Premier League before the end of February, and Cole has called on Sarri's players to step up in the coming games. 

"When you get that many great players in one dressing room it’s hard to manage. But Sarri is doing a good job," he told Goal.

"After this run of three away games, which was very difficult for us, there was a settling-in period against Malmo.

"The Man Utd game, the cup final, this next two weeks is going to be defining in Chelsea’s season. That’s clear. It always comes to a head. Every season comes to a head where you get a week or two and it’s a crucial week.

"It’s important that the players recognise it and I think they do. If they get four or five great results over the next month, the season could be a real positive one for the club."

Sarri was brought in from Napoli last summer following the departure of Antonio Conte from Stamford Bridge.

Conte had won the Premier League title in his first season at the club but, despite winning the FA Cup, his second was far less impressive and saw them finish fifth in the English top flight.

"Last year was a really bad year in terms of where we finished up, obviously missing out on the Champions League," Cole said. "I think time will tell on how successful Sarri will be.

"One thing you have to admire is he’s committed to his style and his philosophy and he wants the club to adhere to that. You have to admire that so much. Against Malmo they were excellent in trying to do what the manager wanted."

Cole won three Premier League titles, three FA Cups and two League Cups during a seven-year career at Chelsea, and started the 2008 Champions League final defeat against Manchester United.

The Blues eventually picked up a first-ever Champions League trophy in 2012 and Cole wants to see them lift it again, insisting Chelsea need to aim to win at least one title every season. 

"If you’re lucky enough to be playing in Europe you have four competitions to try and win every year," Cole continued. "This is my fan head on. You want to win one of them trophies.

"We’d all love to win the Champions League, it’s probably the most difficult one to win, you need the gods to be on your side, the margins are so small.

"The Premier League is probably the best indicator of how well you did over the course of the season. And then both cups are really prestigious to win. Chelsea want to be getting their hands on one of them trophies. That will always be the standard that this club is set by. 

"That’s a good thing. I don’t think it’s a bad thing. You want to set standards and the club has certainly set high standards for everyone involved."

Joe Cole is no stranger to switching clubs. However, he was joined by former England team-mate Michael Owen as the pair announced one final transfer in a tongue-in-cheek film for smartphone brand Huawei. Citing intelligent performance and a fantastic kit as reasons for the move, the Premier League greats state they’ve made the easiest move of their careers...