Former Premier League forward and current pundit Paolo di Canio has called on Chelsea head coach Maurizio Sarri to reiterate his philosophy’s attacking points in the final third to the Blues frontline.

The west London side suffered their second league defeat in a space of three matches when they lost to Wolves at Molineux last Wednesday, with last month’s loss against Tottenham Hotspur the first time Sarri experienced defeat in the Premier League.

A spectacular beginning for the Blues has turned south in recent weeks as their form dipped. They have won just two out of their past five matches but more worryingly, they have only won four of their last ten. This run includes four draws and two losses, but while Sarri’s side continued to monopolise possession in these matches, it suggested a lack of cutting edge and conviction in the final third.

With Chelsea facing a daunting task on Saturday as they host leaders Manchester City, whom they currently trail by ten points, Sarri’s fellow Italian and current football pundit di Canio has warned the Blues head coach about the rigours of suffering another setback this weekend.

“Chelsea? The opposite would have been better: a slow start and continuous growth. Now the path has almost stopped and there is an involution,” said the current television pundit. “For players like Hazard and Willian, it is also difficult to pass the opponent.

“There are many games in this period and the other teams do not give up anything. Sarri will have to be careful. On Saturday there is City and Chelsea will face them after a defeat. You can lose against City, but if there is another defeat, they might find themselves fifth.

“The risk is that many players feel the backlash and do not believe in the growth process. Many of these players are the same ones who had given up on Mourinho and Conte. They have no reason to give up the championship with Sarri because I see that they love him and follow him.”

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Di Canio, who had spells in the Premier League with Sheffield Wednesday, West Ham and Charlton, then stressed the need for Sarri to elucidate the finer points of his system’s attacking phase, claiming that the Blues’ frontline players hold on to the ball for too long, negating the quick movement of the ball – a key element in Sarri-ball.

“However, I repeat that Sarri must clarify some points in the tactical and technical process because those up front hold the ball too much for his way of thinking about football,” added di Canio.