Chelsea coast into Europa League last-16… but will Maurizio Sarri still be boss by then?

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CHELSEA eventually coasted into the last 16 of the Europa League, but whether Maurizio Sarri will still be in dugout come then remains to be seen.

You certainly would not bank on it after another shoddy showing by the Blues against Malmo.

The jury is still out on Maurizio Sarri based on tonight's performance
The jury is still out on Maurizio Sarri based on tonight’s performance
Reuters

When Sarri took over as Chelsea manager last summer he vowed to bring the fun back to Stamford Bridge.

But the only ones enjoying themselves recently have been his team’s opponents.

And you get the feeling another walloping from Manchester City in Sunday’s Carabao Cup Final and that could be it for the under-fire Italian.

Even a win at Wembley might not be enough to save him – yes things have got that bad.

Callum Hudson-Odoi finally got a run out and scored against Malmo
Callum Hudson-Odoi finally got a run out and scored against Malmo
PA:Press Association

Chelsea are hardly renowned for keeping faith with managers and nobody would really be that shocked if they binned Sarri before Tottenham visit Wednesday.

A laboured victory over a Malmo side in their close season and playing only their third competitive match since December did little to enhance his future prospects.

Forget all the talk of Sarri-ball, this was mostly just terrible.

All managers need time to make their mark at a club. But they must at least be able to show improvement while they are bidding to get things how they want them.

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Worryingly for Chelsea they seem to have gone backwards since Sarri’s encouraging start.

It makes you wonder what on earth is going on behind the scenes to result in such a downturn.

Chain-smoker Sarri cut an anxious figure as he paced up and down his technical area chewing on cigarette ends.

But you get the feeling no amount of butt-kissing will save him from unless there is a drastic and rapid rise in the quality performances.

The beleaguered Blues boss may have shuffled his pack ahead of Sunday’s clash against City, but they were as bad as they were against the red half of Manchester on Monday when they lost 2-0 to United in the FA Cup fifth round.

Sarri came in for stick from the Matthew Harding Stand and that might explain his team’s nervy display until Olivier Giroud broke the deadlock in the 55th minute.

Ross Barkley scored a great free-kick - and was swiftly hauled off
Ross Barkley scored a great free-kick – and was swiftly hauled off
AFP

Until then you wondered whether Sarri was going be embarrassed by his opposite number Uwe Rosler, who hardly covered himself in glory while managing Wigan, Leeds and Fleetwood Town.

Chelsea fans, outsung by the Malmo’s noisy travelling contingent, only piped up to sing the name of Frank Lampard, their No1 choice to replace Sarri – even though the current Derby boss was given a tactical masterclass by Millwall’s Neil Harris 24 hours earlier.

Not even a second goal by Ross Barkley could save Sarri from more stick last night as Sarri was booed for taking off the scorer moments later and replacing him with Jorginho, who is as about as popular in these parts as his manager!

Even Chelsea’s third goal stuck the knife into Sarri as it was scored by Callum Hudson-Odoi, who despite being the club’s hottest young prospect, is seemingly not rated by the gaffer and reportedly wants out.

“We want you to stay” sang the Chelsea fans at their teen idol. Something not too many would sing about Sarri.

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