If Maurizio Sarri is to keep his job as Chelsea manager he will need to produce results during the club’s crucial run of February fixtures.
Following Sunday’s 6-0 thrashing at champions Manchester City Chelsea have slipped to sixth in the Premier League table and face another season without Champions League football.
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The City loss followed away defeats against Arsenal and Bournemouth where Sarri said he was “unable to motivate” his squad.
The Daily Mail reports that Chelsea players have held “a clear-the-air meeting” at the club’s Cobham training ground following the City debacle as they look to turn their fortunes around ahead of a huge month.
The next few weeks are key for Sarri’s survival and the Telegraph says that Chelsea “now face a season-defining run of fixtures”.
First up for the Blues is a Europa League round of 32 first-leg trip to Swedish side Malmo on Thursday night. Then on Monday the FA Cup holders host Manchester United in the fifth round at Stamford Bridge.
The Europa League home leg against Malmo follows on 21 February and then Chelsea face Man City again in the final of the Carabao Cup at Wembley Stadium on 24 February.
To round things off this month Chelsea will play London rivals Tottenham in a Premier League clash at the Bridge on 27 February.
Football.London reports that Sarri’s position is “up in the air” after the City defeat and it’s claimed in the Italian media that he is “in limbo”.
Football Italia also report that the Blues are considering putting his assistant Gianfranco Zola in temporary charge until the end of the season.
The Sack Race website asks is it now a case of “when” not “if” Sarri will crack at Chelsea? The bookies say that Sarri is favourite to be the next Premier League boss to get the chop and Paddy Power prices place Zinedine Zidane, Zola, Frank Lampard and Diego Simeone as possible candidates to take over.
Lampard dismisses talk
Derby County manager Lampard, a Chelsea legend and the club’s record goalscorer, was asked about the rumours suggesting that he could return to Stamford Bridge.
Speaking ahead of his side’s Championship clash against Ipswich tomorrow, the 40-year-old said: “My job is here. We’re working very hard and my thoughts are on Ipswich Town on Wednesday, and Brighton on Saturday.”
On his former club’s loss at the Etihad, Lampard added: “For Chelsea it was a tough day. With all top teams the important thing is you come back strong, no matter what type of defeat. What makes top teams is resilience and Chelsea as a club will have it.”
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