Maurizio Sarri has only coached Chelsea since July, but his influence in the Blues has put a significant impact. There was no one who ever thought Sarri could work that fast, changing Chelsea’s pragmatic style during Antonio Conte’s.
Yep, Conte’s Chelsea version was a team that was very different from the current Chelsea in Sarri’s era. Conte put forward a very defensive game. One of them was by applying the pattern of three central defenders.
In the preseason session, Sarri could quickly transform the player’s mindset. Of course, a more attacking game then became the sweet result of Sarri’s hard work. However, it should not be forgotten that there was another important role in the field. This person was introduced simultaneously by Sarri in his first presentation as Chelsea’s manager.
He was Jorginho, the midfielder who was the actor of Sarri’s brain on the field. Jorginho who arrived on the same day with Sarri automatically became a symbol of change. His quality as a player was very influential for the “Sarriball” revolution.
Sarriball was the nickname for Chelsea’s style of playing under Sarri’s coaching which put forward attacks using short passes through Jorginho as the main thinker. Jorginho could be easily seen on the field because he was the player who touched the ball most often. He set the tempo of Chelsea’s ball control while directing to give pressure towards the opposing players when he was not holding the ball.
One of the first instructions since the first training session was that the player had to continue to give the ball to Jorginho, who could be called the orchestra leader, then challenge the players to grab the ball from Jorginho’s team in ten seconds.
Inevitably, Jorginho’s status on a very vital team made him had to adapt to the social conditions of Chelsea’s players. It’s not easy because the Chelsea players had previously won the trophy in a very different style. David Luiz later admitted that Jorgy, his nickname from his teammate, had an attractive personality. He had been accepted by Chelsea’s squad.
Because he fully understood what Sarri wanted, he became the main reference for other players. With David Luiz as the most popular player on the team besides him, he had no trouble controlling all players.
This comfortable situation helped him become a perfect player with the best bait accuracy. He reminded the football’s fans with Xavi Hernadez in his golden age. He topped the bait list per match in the European big league in three seasons with Sarri at Napoli and looked set to continue to extend the record this season.
Furthermore, he was one of those few non-trained players who could score more than 90 percent in the big European league. Jorginho actually could have been trained by Guardiola this season when Manchester City bid Napoli to bring Jorginho.
The unresolved problem for Sarri at Chelsea was how he played without Jorginho. He was the first midfielder in front of a defender. Thus, Golo Kante should be able to play his role. However, Sarri said Kante was too physically playing and had no bait skills as great as Jorginho. He insisted to make Cesc Fabregas as Jorginho’s substitute instead. Meanwhile, Fabregas was 31 years old, and he had admitted he had never played in that position since childhood.
Jorginho also had his own weaknesses. Although being the “defensive midfielder”, he did not have good defensive abilities, such as Kante for example. Son Heung Min passed him easily in the match against Tottenham. Newcastle and West Ham piled players in defense and closed the bait room for him. Even Fabregas had once reminded that the player in the position of Jorginho was the easiest player to be escorted by the opponents.
If Jorginho was unable to carry out his role well, he would be no longer reliable and Sarri would look for other new players. If Sarri did not give any trophy, Chelsea would look for a new coach. Let’s see what Jorginho and Sarri will offer to Chelsea at the end of the season…