Chelsea head coach Maurizio Sarri has set a new Premier League record after the goalless stalemate with Everton on Sunday.
Having shared the points with the Toffees in an underwhelming game at Stamford Bridge, Sarri has now avoided defeat in his first 12 league games as a manager in the top-flight, something that has not been done before since the inception of the Premier League in 1992.
The Blues head coach assumes the record previously held by Frank Clark, who led Nottingham Forest to an 11-match unbeaten start during the 1994-1995 season – a statistic that has stood for 24 years. At club level, Sarri has long beaten the record set by Jose Mourinho and Luiz Felipe Scolari who both had gone eight games unbeaten in the league through 2004 and 2008 respectively.
Despite arriving at west London very late for pre-season which aroused concerns of a difficult start in his tenure in England, the ex-Napoli manager began in spectacular form, guiding the Blues to a five-match winning run, including a 3-2 home victory over London and top-four rivals Arsenal in their second match of the campaign.
After two draws and another win, Sarri’s unbeaten start to the season seriously came under threat when they welcomed Manchester United at Stamford Bridge in the ninth round of the Premier League fixtures. Trailing the Red Devils 2-1 via a second-half Anthony Martial brace that erased Chelsea’s early lead via Antonio Rudiger’s first-half strike, Sarri was able to preserve his unbeaten start when Ross Barkley scored a dramatic equaliser in the sixth minute of stoppage time.
Not only in the league is Sarri doing well in his early life as a Blues manager. The 59-year-old has also taken Chelsea to a run of 18 games unbeaten in all competitions. Apart from having recently masterminded the west London club’s progress to the knockout stages of the Europa League, Sarri has also taken the club to the quarterfinals of the League Cup, a journey that has seen them execute a defeat of Liverpool in the third round.
Asked of his remarkable achievement in the league, Sarri expressed his delight and gratitude to the club although he frankly admitted a win would have been better accompaniment to go with the landmark he has set.
“I’m very proud. I have to say thank you to the club because they gave me a very good team. I have to say thank you to my players and my staff. But today I would have preferred three points to the record,” said Sarri.