It’s going to take three months for Chelsea to get into their stride, predicts new boss Morrie Sarri, after an animated touchline display on Tuesday night in which he paced back and forwards like the man in the condemned cell awaiting execution.
Chelsea beat Lyon 5-4 on penalties – Eden Hazard scoring the winner after sub keeper Robert Green had saved from Papa Cheikh Diop – in the International Champions Cup at Stamford Bridge. “Potentially we can become, in two or three months, a very good team,” said the new manager.
It was a curious game in which the shot-shy Blues failed to find their scoring touch during the match, despite the 18,457-strong crowd baying for players to shoot.
If the last manager, Tony Conte, was entertaining to watch in the technical area, Sarri is even funnier. For a start he rarely stays in his designated zone – a source of annoyance to Lyon manager Bruno Genesio, who regularly complained to an ineffectual fourth official that Sarri had moved so far over he was blocking his view of the game!
After a lacklustre first half, Chelsea approached a half-decent line-up with a flurry of substitutions – 11 in all – including taking off young keeper Marcin Bulka and replacing him with Green.
Both will now be looking over their shoulder after the surprise news emerged that with Thibaut Courtois apparently on strike in an effort to force a move to Real Madrid, the Blues had splashed out £71million on Athletic Bilbao’s young keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga.
Bizarrely, after Tuesday evening’s match, Sarri said he had heard nothing about it.
The club is, seemingly, moving in mysterious ways.
Heaven only knows what will happen away at Huddersfield at the weekend!