Sarri believes new arrivals can lift the spirits of the team
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Sarri believes new arrivals can lift the spirits of the team

Maurizio Sarri was left bewildered by his team’s 2-0 defeat to Arsenal and the Italian accused the players of approaching the game with a poor mentality.

Chelsea went behind early in the first half to Lacazette’s thumping finish before Laurent Koscielny doubled the advantage for the Gunners, finding the net with his shoulder from Sokratis’ cross.

Marcos Alonso hit the post but Chelsea never really looked like posting a significant challenge on the day, which apparently didn’t go down well with Sarri, who slammed his players for lack of motivation.

“Today I prefer to speak Italian first of all because I want to send a message to my players and I want my message to be very clear,” the Chelsea head coach said. “I don’t want to make a mistake with my English.

“I have to say that I’m extremely angry, very angry indeed, because this defeat was due to our mentality more than anything else.

“We played against a team that was mentally far more determined that we were, and this is something I can’t accept.

“We had a similar issue in the league game at Tottenham. We spoke a great deal about that particular loss and our approach at the time. I spoke to the players, I thought that we had managed to overcome the issue.

“It seems to me they have an issue with having a sufficient amount of determination and being mentally solid. I’m not happy at all because I prefer to come into the press room and into the changing room to talk about the tactics and why we lost from a strategy point of view, but the fact of the matter is that it would appear that this group of players is extremely difficult to motivate.”

“It seems to me that their high level of determination was really obvious throughout the game, I would say particular in both penalty areas, if you just think about how clinical they were when they scored their goal, and yet we in defence weren’t as determined.

“We weren’t strong enough in defence, particularly with the first goal we conceded. We could have lost that game anyway, we could have lost it for tactical or technical reasons, but I think we lost it because of our determination. I couldn’t possibly say I’m not responsible as well, in part, I think that’s something we have to share.”

Perplexed by the lack of hunger and desire amongst the players, Sarri pointed out that a new face or two in the transfer window can certainly work favours for the confidence level of the team.

“It seems to me that as a group of players they are not particularly aggressive from a mental point of view,” he said. “They don’t have ferocity in their mentality.

“That’s something that is down to the kind of players they are, their characteristics. It’s something that is difficult to change. You have to try and influence their mentality. It’s something that could take quite a long time.

Reports claim that Chelsea are closing in on Gonzalo Higuain, who is expected to arrive at Stamford Bridge on a six-month loan deal with the obligation to buy at the end of the season and the 31-year-old might be available for the Carabao Cup semi-final tie against Spurs next week.

“By the same token, it could be changed by a new player coming in, or perhaps one of the old heads in the team assuming responsibility and driving the rest of the team forward.”

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