PREMIER LEAGUE

Fan criticism is not helpful to Chelsea players, says Sarri

Fan criticism not helpful to Chelsea players - Sarri

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While Chelsea fans' criticism of Maurizio Sarri is not affecting the coach, he is keen to protect his players from negativity from unhappy supporters.

Maurizio Sarri encouraged Chelsea fans to create a positive atmosphere during Wednesday's clash with Brighton and Hove Albion, claiming criticism of his coaching harms the team. Blues supporters were vocal with their frustrations during a 2-1 win at Cardiff City on Sunday, with several fans chanting for Sarri to be sacked as they trailed in the closing stages. Chelsea turned the situation around but the Italian, while not concerned by the criticism, does not want the negative climate to be repeated in midweek.

Fans must get behind the team

"I think [the fans] have to help the players during the match," Sarri told a pre-match news conference. "After, they can say anything. But during, I hope they can help my players. I think we are a group and, at the moment, I think we are a good group, so it's not helpful for my players. For me, it isn't a problem. I am 60, so I can understand. But when I was 25, it was probably different."

Sarri also offered a defence of his record at Chelsea, saying: "I am not happy, but I am not concerned. I can understand very well the frustrations, but we are not doing so badly. We have won 33 games and I think, in England, only Manchester City have done better than us."