Antonio Rudiger Concedes Maurizio Sarri’s Tactical Teachings Have Worn Out Chelsea Squad

Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger has admitted that Maurizio Sarri’s relentless tactical teachings have occasionally caused mental fatigue within the squad.

The Italian manager has been put under real pressure in the Stamford Bridge dugout following a series of poor performances and even worse results.

And, speaking ahead of Sunday’s Carabao Cup final against Manchester City at Wembley, Rudiger conceded that the Italian’s insistence on tactical training the morning of a game was causing some mental tiredness within the Blues’ dressing room.

Romelu Lukaku,Antonio Rudiger

“Fatigue, no, because it’s not like we are doing box-to-box runs,” Rudiger said, as quoted by the Daily Mail. 

“It’s not physical. It’s the tactical things he likes to do. That’s his way, he’s carrying on. It’s new for the majority of the players but we have to adapt to it. It’s the same if you sit in the school the whole time listening to someone. Of course, sometimes, it gets mental, but at the end of the day you have to do your job.”

However, he maintained the main issue was the team’s confidence levels, before insisting that he’s prepared to follow Sarri’s tactical plans.


“We are always working in training, trying to do better each day. I think, right now, it’s about confidence. It’s not a tactical aspect, in my view. It’s confidence. We are underperforming.

“On Sunday, a big game against ?City at Wembley. That will show the truth. That will show our way this season. It will be the truth in terms of keeping up with opponents like City, and also Liverpool and Tottenham.

“I’m not the coach, I’m a football player. This is something the coach has to decide and we have to follow. You always play for your manager, but you want results. You want to win. No player on earth likes to have the kind of run we have had.”

It has been made clear that Sarri’s job is on the line heading in to Chelsea’s next two games, with Europa League progression against Malmo a minimum before Sunday’s cup final against a City side that beat them 6-0 almost a fortnight ago at the Etihad Stadium.


FIFA 19 Ultimate Team: Jan Oblak, Kingsley Coman & Krzysztof Piatek Headline TOTW 23

It’s that time of the week again, with EA Sports’ FIFA 19 releasing their brand new team of the week cards for Ultimate Team.

For years now, gamers up and down the country eagerly anticipate the new release of cards rewarding some of the best individual performances from the previous week’s games from around the world.

Here, we spin you through the hottest cards featured in TOTW 23 – including a rather tasty Jan Oblak card and a deserved upgrade for in-form Milan hotshot Krzysztof Piatek.?

Jan Oblak (91)

Jan Oblak

The ?Atletico Madrid custodian has been imperious throughout this 2018/19 campaign, and this was confirmed once again with a clean sheet against Rayo Vallecano. This took his seasonal tally to a mighty 15 from 31 appearances, and his overall total to 108 in 193 Atletico outings. 

This TOTW 23 card hands Oblak a 91 rating, one up from his normal one, with 88 diving, 93 handling, 79 kicking, 90 reflexes, 45 speed and 90 positioning. Tasty stuff. 

Marquinhos (87)


The conquerer of Manchester, Marquinhos put in one of the performances of the season from midfield against Manchester United at Old Trafford, as Paris Saint-Germain strode to a 2-0 victory in their ?Champions League last 16 1st leg. 

Another clean sheet followed in a tricky away clash against St-Etienne, with the Brazilian this time operating from his nominal centre back position. While that is where you’ll likely want to put this 87 rated card in your team, his significantly amplified pace (78) and dribbling (73) may push you to bend convention.

Kingsley Coman (85)

Trent Alexander-Arnold,Kingsley Coman

The French winger is fresh from wowing fans on this side of the channel with his performance against Liverpool at Anfield on Tuesday night in the Champions League, but this hallowed spot was earned from his two-goal showing against Augsburg in the Bundesliga. 

After being struck down with injury at the start of the season, Kingsley Coman is finally showing the world what he can do. With an 85 overall rating, 95 pace, 87 dribbling and 80 shooting, there’s very little he can’t do for your team. 

Radja Nainggolan (86)

Radja Nainggolan

After a difficult start to life at ?Inter following his big money move from Roma and the comparative form of Nicolo Zaniolo, who was included in said deal, Radja Nainggolan looks finally to be settling in with the Nerazzurri. 

His 78th minute score sealed all three points in a tightly contested affair with Sampdoria at San Siro, and his imbued dribbling (83), shooting (81) and physicality (84) should seal a whole load more for your side. 

Krzysztof Piatek (82)


Krzysztof Piatek is the man of the hour at ?AC Milan. After joining from Genoa for €35m in Janaury as a replacement for the Chelsea-bound Gonzalo Higuain, the Polish striker has notched six goals in five games – continuing his extraordinary goalscoring record this season. 

And this TOTW card sufficiently reflects this purple patch of form. With elite pace and shooting (both 84) coupled tantalisingly with slick dribbling (80) and boosted physicality (82), Piatek’s 82 overall card becomes one of the most complete of any of his competitors. 

Honourable Mentions


What would this list be without this man. Mario Balotelli has been electric since joining Olympique de Marseille in January, with three goals from his four games. He continued this form with a glorious back-heel in the build up to his side’s opener against SC Amiens last weekend, and a consummate finish of his own to bag the win. 

The card is equally special. With an 85 overall rating, you’ll be sure Super Mario can recreate this and more in your side. Elsewhere, former West Ham reject Sofiane Feghouli seems to have recovered his pre-Hammers form with Galatasaray, and 87 pace and 85 dribbling on an 82 overall card is not shabby at all. Don’t sleep on the 78 shooting, either.


Maurizio Sarri Speaks Out Over His Chelsea Future and Reveals Plan to Turn Things Around

Maurizio Sarri has insisted he sees his long-term future at Chelsea, and revealed his plans for reviving the Blues from their recent struggles.

Following their disappointing fifth round exit to Manchester United in the FA Cup, Chelsea take on Malmo in the second leg of their Europa League clash on Thursday, looking to regain some much needed momentum.

Maurizio Sarri

With speculation intensifying over Sarri’s position at the club, and suggestions that the club has already ?compiled a three-man shortlist to replace him, the former Napoli boss insisted he sees himself as the Blues’ manager in the foreseeable future.

Speaking in his pre-match press conference, the Italian said (as quoted by the ?club’s official website): “I have to think I will be the manager of ?Chelsea for a long time, otherwise I cannot work. I am not sure [I will be] but I have to think this, because I have to work and I want to work with a long-term target.”

Despite the growing uncertainty over his future, Sarri has not yet met or spoken with Chelsea boss Roman Abramovich or club director Marina Granovskaia.

After receiving wide-spread criticism from Blues fans at Stamford Bridge on Monday night, Sarri revealed the only way to win back the fans was to string a sequence of wins together.

He admitted: “We need to win three or four matches in a row. It’s the only solution. I can understand very well the frustration of our fans. They are used to winning, and now we are in trouble. There isn’t another way. We only have to have good performances and good results.

“In this moment it’s very difficult to think we can win three or four matches in a row, but in football everything can change in one day. First of all we need a good performance and result, and then with more confidence we are able to do everything.


Maurizio Sarri Reveals Chelsea Trio Are in Doubt for Upcoming Europa League Clash

Maurizio Sarri has confirmed that Pedro, Kepa Arrizabalaga and Davide Zappacosta will be unavailable for Chelsea’s Europa League clash against Malmo on Thursday.

The Blues will hope to gain some momentum, after their latest insipid performance saw them beaten 2-0 by Manchester United in the fifth round of the FA Cup, with Sarri himself the subject of widespread boos from the Stamford Bridge faithful.

Maurizio Sarri

Ahead of Thursday’s Europa League clash against Malmo, the former Napoli boss provided an injury update, saying (as quoted by ?BBC Sport): “Pedro is suffering with a stomach ache, Kepa has a hamstring problem and Zappacosta has a fever.”

Sarri also responded to the criticism on his possession-based ‘Sarriball’ system, remarking: “The system is a false problem.

“I know very well that when we lose I have to put a striker on the pitch. When we win I have to put a defender on the pitch. But I want to see football in another way.


“I understand the frustration of the fans as they are used to winning, but the only way to turn it around is to produce good performances and get results.”

With earlier reports suggesting that the ?Chelsea hierarchy had identified Blues legend Frank Lampard and former Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane as potential candidates for the job, Sarri confirmed he had not spoken to either club owner Roman Abramovich or director Marina Granovskaia despite the growing uncertainty over his future.

“I have to think that I will be the manager of Chelsea for a long time, otherwise I cannot work,” he added.

One of the biggest criticisms of Sarri’s reign has been his use of France World Cup winner N’golo Kante in a more advanced role, rather than as a holding midfielder.

When asked why the ex-Leicester City star did not feature in his more natural position, Sarri revealed: “I want a player who is able to move the ball very fast as the deep-lying midfielder, which is why N’Golo Kante is not playing there.”

After securing a 2-1 victory in the first leg against their Swedish opponents last week, Sarri also confirmed that the side would remain focused on progressing into the last 16 of the competition before turning their attentions towards Sunday’s Carabao Cup final against ?Manchester City.

“Of course in this moment it’s very difficult to think we’re able to win three, four matches in a row,” he added. “As you know very well in football everything can change in one day.

“I think we need first of all a good performance, a good result and with more confidence we are able to do anything.”


Maurizio Sarri Has Two Games to Save Job as Chelsea Board Hold Discussions Over Manager’s Future

Maurizio Sarri may have just two games to save his job, as senior figures at Chelsea have convened on Tuesday for discussions regarding the future of manager after a concerning run of form. 

The Blues have lost four of their last eight matches across all competitions, with wins against Tottenham, Sheffield Wednesday, Huddersfield and Malmo countered by embarrassing losses to Arsenal, Bournemouth, Manchester City and Manchester United. 

During Monday night’s FA Cup clash, fans were clearly heard objecting to the tactician’s decisions, ?while chants of “f*** Sarri-ball” were heard from some sections.

According to Sky Sports, this concerning series of events has prompted senior figures within the club to hold a meeting about the Italian’s future, though he is still expected to be in charge for Thursday’s Europa League second leg with Malmo.

The next three games are crucial for the 60-year-old, with the European encounter followed by the EFL Cup Final against ?Man City on Sunday and a ?Premier League clash with Tottenham. However, Telegraph reports that the former Napoli boss could be dismissed if Chelsea lose either against Malmo or City.

The dismissal of Sarri would be the 13th of the Roman Abramovich era.

But the future of the Stamford Bridge dugout is not the only thing on the mind of the Chelsea hierarchy, as the ?Telegraph notes. The club are on the precipice of a number of key decisions that could rock their immediate future. 

The Eden Hazard transfer saga looks set to conclude with a long-mooted move to Real Madrid, while FIFA could be set to slap them with a transfer ban for their dealings with foreign players under the age of 18. 

Maurizio Sarri

UEFA could also be set to issue them with a crowd ban following their fans’ behaviour at several Europa League games this season, and to top things off, their legal battle with Antonio Conte over the severance package he is yet to receive could go to court. 

The report includes a quote from a source proclaiming: “Which top manager is going to want to go anywhere near ?Chelsea at the moment?”