Zola backs Sarri’s public criticism of the Chelsea players
Chelsea’s assistant manager Gianfranco Zola has backed manager Maurizio Sarri’s public criticism of the players and explained it was a part of a drive to bring consistency into the team.
Sarri questioned his players’ mentality following last Saturday’s meek 2-0 defeat at Arsenal. However, they responded very well by overcoming the other London rival Tottenham via shoot-out to reach the final of the Carabao Cup.
Zola tried to play down the issue which caught fire quickly across the globe, regarding the manager criticising his players in public. The former Chelsea striker admitted getting back-to-back performances from the team was key moving forward.
While speaking in a news conference ahead of the Blues’ FA Cup tie against Sheffield Wednesday, the Italian said: “I think to put too much emphasis on that would be wrong. Before we saw also very good performances.
“Obviously Thursday was one of the top ones.
“We don’t question that these players can achieve peak performances, like they did yesterday.
“What we’re trying to achieve here is we want consistency in performances, because it’s the nature of the league. You can’t afford to play two games well and one game less good.
“The top teams are pushing. We need to keep pace.”
There was a lot made about Sarri openly criticising his best player – Eden Hazard. But Zola believes it’s all part of the coach’s armoury.
He said: “It can go one or two ways, but sometimes the criticism is not necessarily a negative thing.
“Sometimes as a coach, as a manager you try to always get the best out of the players. Sometimes you have to give them a compliment, sometimes you also need to criticise.
“I appreciate the players have reacted in the right way, that’s the most important thing.”
Chelsea play Sheffield Wednesday in the FA Cup fourth round tie on Sunday, before travelling to Bournemouth for a tricky league game on Wednesday.