Maurizio Sarri has a month to avoid “a precarious position” at Chelsea, says Ron ‘Chopper’ Harris, with there a number of issues to address if the Italian is to avoid “walking”.
The Italian was only handed the reins at Stamford Bridge in the summer of 2018 as he succeeded fellow countryman Antonio Conte.
A bright start was made to life in west London, as he opened competitive action with a lengthy unbeaten run, but the wheels have come off in recent weeks.
Questions are now being asked of Sarri and his methods heading into a run of games which is set to see Chelsea take in a two-legged Europa League last-32 clash with Malmo, an FA Cup fifth-round tie with Manchester United, the Carabao Cup final against City and a league date with Tottenham.
Asked what the future holds for Sarri, Blues legend Harris told Love Sport Radio: “That’s for the powers that be [but if I were in charge] I would most probably have a chat with him and say ‘you’ve got until the end of the month to put things right and if not, you’re obviously in a precarious position’.
“The knives are out for the fella at the moment but it’s up to him now to get the players to rally round.
“Whether he can do that remains to be seen because they’re playing Manchester United in the cup, the League Cup final coming up and four or five games in the next couple of weeks so I think he needs to put it right otherwise he will be walking.”
Quizzed on where things have gone wrong for Chelsea, Harris added: “If you look at their last two away performances, they’ve conceded 10 goals.
“In football, if you leak goals like we’re doing - we were doing it even before those games and I don’t think we look sound enough defensively - you don’t win matches.
“One of the biggest losses that Chelsea have had is John Terry. John was a leader on the field and he organised things.
“That doesn’t seem to be happening on the field at the moment. Once you start losing goals, you don’t win matches. Now, they’re going to have a battle to finish in the top four.”
One of the other issues facing Chelsea at present is considered to be their system.
‘Sarri-ball’ earned plenty of plaudits early in the season, but the decision to move World Cup winner N’Golo Kante from his favoured holding role is now drawing plenty of criticism as the Blues struggle to contain opponents.
Harris said of that selection call: “I would think that when you think what he did last year, he was head and shoulders ahead of anyone else.
“But looking at him playing at the moment, it’s like me, a defender who never crossed the halfway line playing as a striker.
“He looks totally out of the role he played last season. I think everybody can see that but, obviously, the manager sees different things.”