Maurizio Sarri struggles to win over angry Chelsea fans
Maurizio Sarri faces another angry vote of no confidence from frustrated Chelsea fans if the under-fire Italian fails to spark his spluttering side in tomorrow morning's (Singapore time) clash against Brighton and Hove Albion.
Sarri was subjected to vitriolic abuse from Chelsea supporters at Cardiff City last Sunday, in response to a painful performance that was just six minutes away from serving as the nadir of a miserable first season for the Blues boss.
Trailing 1-0 in the second half after being outfought by the English Premier League relegation candidates, Chelsea were on the rack and chants of "you don't know what you're doing" and "we want Sarri out" echoed out from the away end.
Chelsea's under-performing stars eventually raised themselves for just long enough to give Sarri a modicum of breathing space with two late goals to steal a sorely needed 2-1 win.
That may have kept alive their hopes of a top-four finish, but it did little to quell the feeling that Sarri is on borrowed time at Stamford Bridge.
Since an impressive 2-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur raised hopes that Sarri could avoid the sack, his troubled team have reverted to lacklustre type.
Reflecting the pattern of a hugely frustrating season, Chelsea are once again churning out turgid performances featuring large spells of domination without any cutting edge.
In the league games since they beat Spurs, Sarri's side needed an inspired display from goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga to narrowly beat lowly Fulham, while it took a last-minute equaliser from Eden Hazard to rescue a home draw against Wolverhampton Wanderers.
A woeful 2-0 loss at Everton was following by an even more limp effort at Cardiff, which looked certain to end in an embarrassing defeat before Cesar Azpilicueta's clearly offside equaliser triggered their late fightback.
A repeat of that woeful display against Brighton is certain to bring more opprobrium for Sarri, who has already suffered several nights of boos at the Bridge.
Sarri hasn't helped himself after aiming a subtle dig at Chelsea's fans when he said after the Cardiff escape that they would have been better off waiting to see the final score before turning on him. - AFP