A season that started so promisingly for both Chelsea and Sarri has quickly gone sour with the eight-time Premier League champions now firmly embroiled in a dogfight for top-four.
Imprinting his philosophy at Stamford Bridge has proved to be a frustrating task for the Italian headmaster with the team still struggling to come to grips with his style of play.
With the battle for the third and fourth spots in the Premier League quickly descending into a four-horse race, Chelsea’s hopes of qualifying for the Champions League next season are delicate at best.
The prospect of missing out on the Champions League for two years in a row will not be an inviting one for Chelsea under their current circumstances. In fact, Sarri’s future at Chelsea beyond the season could well revolve around Champions League qualification.
Under Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, managers have been sacked for much less at Chelsea and failure to guide the team to Europe’s top tier could very seal the fate for Sarri.
As such, the Europa League’s significance for Chelsea and Sarri this season has heightened greatly. The Blues are set to face Dynamo Kyiv in the round of 16 and they will fancy themselves to topple the Ukraine club.
With the winners of the tournament being handed a direct qualification to the Champions League group stage next season, it might be time for Sarri to put all his eggs in the Europa League.
Not that winning the Europa League will be an easy affair, especially with teams like Sevilla, Napoli, Arsenal, Valencia and Benfica still in the fray. However, as Chelsea themselves and Manchester United have shown in recent years, it is one competition where English clubs have shown the ability to thrive.