There was a lot to like about Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea side, although it soon became clear that his tenure at the west London club wouldn’t last for long.
Kepa Arrizabalaga refusing to be substituted was arguably the final straw, but the writing was on the wall long before then.
Sarri had joined from Napoli where he’d received plaudits for the way the Serie A side had played, but once he tried to introduce similar concepts at Chelsea, the players quickly lost interest.
Assistant manager at the time, Gianfranco Zola has even admitted that two of the Blues biggest stars were bored by what they had to put up with.
“They were talented players, like Hazard and Willian, players who know how to win games on their own, but they were suffering from the type of exercises and type of training we were doing – but it was necessary for the others,” Zola said on the Keys & Gray show on beIN Sports and cited by the Daily Star.
“I’ll be honest, they were brilliant because they got bored, but they kept doing it throughout and that was the reason why when everyone was dropping we were going up towards the end.
“At the beginning, the players were very much behind everything that we were saying, they were brilliant.
“They were following everything, but then as the weeks passed due to the repetition and the amount of games they were playing, the players got tired and they also got bored in a way.”
Frankly, it’s an astonishing revelation, but it’s to the players evident credit that they worked through their ‘boredom’ and got on with the job in hand.
Sarri quickly moved on to the Juventus post, and sitting proudly atop Serie A is surely a reward for sticking to his principles.