Chelsea went from in complete control, to thoroughly deserving to concede an equalizer after falling asleep, to waking back up and taking their deserved victory over Newcastle United on Saturday.
That’s how Blues boss Maurizio Sarri saw it, at least.
After going 1-0 ahead through Pedro in the 9th minute, Chelsea “slept for 20, 25 minutes, so at the end of the first half [they] were in trouble,” in Sarri’s words. Newcastle were able to find their footing and work their way back to 1-1 in the 40th minute. Smart money is on Sarri reading his players the Riot Act at halftime, thus the post-game criticism as well as the strong response in the second half — quotes from the Guardian:
“After the goal I think we thought, ‘Now it’s easy,’ but it wasn’t. We slept for 20, 25 minutes, so at the end of the first half we were in trouble. We need to improve in the mental reaction. After our first goal something happened. We need to improve.
Presumably related to his side’s up-and-down showing, Sarri also jumped at the chance to campaign for reinforcements during the January transfer window. With Cesc Fabregas leaving to join Monaco this week, central midfield is the first area Sarri would like to see strengthened, but he isn’t so sure he’ll get what he wants — quotes from the Standard:
“Today Jorginho was in trouble and, on the bench, there wasn’t a player for that position. I need an option for Jorginho.”
“I have no idea. …The club knows very well my opinion.
“I need the player there, it depends on the club decision, I think. I cannot do anything more.”