Paolo Di Canio believes Chelsea are yet to demonstrate the enterprising brand of football that Maurizio Sarri craves following the Blues’ 2-1 win over Newcastle United at St James’ Park.
Chelsea snatched victory at the death when DeAndre Yedlin directed a Marcos Alonso strike into his own net after Joselu had cancelled out Eden Hazard’s opener from the penalty spot. Despite claiming a third straight victory, the Blues’ performance left much to be desired as they struggled to unscrew a resilient Magpies defence.
While the Blues enjoyed 72% possession, much of which was spent inside the Newcastle territory, they had little thrust. Hazard’s spot kick, that Alonso earned, came only during a transitional phase in which the Toon Army were not in their compact defensive structure in their half. That the eventual winner was an own goal which came from a dead-ball situation is not ideal and Di Canio, who works as a pundit for Sky Sport Italia, insists their display at Newcastle looked devoid of Sarri’s famed attacking philosophy.
“It is too soon to define the idea of Sarri and his game. Today, from the point of view of the game, two steps have been taken back, I have not seen anything of Sarri-ball,” Di Canio said, while adding that the tempo of their passing was not quick, with some players spending more time on the ball than they should have been. “The manoeuvre was too slow. Some footballers hold the ball too much, Hazard most of all.”
Di Canio, who had a stint as Sunderland manager in the Premier League, also said that despite the Blues claiming maximum points against Rafael Benitez’s side, Sarri will not have been delighted with how his side claimed the late victory. “Of course the three points are good but Sarri will not be happy; he is a perfectionist. The three points are held but will have things to say for the performance.”