He has been much maligned for most of the season, but Maurizio Sarri has been able to do something that Unai Emery and Jose Mourino/Ole Gunnar Solskjær were unable to do, and that is guide their club to a top four finish this season.
A combination of Chelsea’s 3-0 victory over Watford on Sunday afternoon and the failure of both Manchester United and Arsenal to win their Sunday afternoon fixtures means Sarri’s men are guaranteed to finish in the top four of the Premier League and therefore play in the Champions League next season.
With Champions League football secured now secured, the attention at Stamford Bridge will now be on reaching the Europa League final by beating Eintracht Frankfurt at Stamford Bridge on Thursday.
Chelsea struggled for intensity against Watford until taking the lead through Ruben Loftus-Cheek early in the second half, perhaps because of Thursday’s Europa League semi-final first leg at Eintracht Frankfurt, and Sarri said:
“We were in trouble because we were tired, physically and mentally.
“Then, in the second half, (Watford) lowered their intensity so we were in control of the match. We were lucky, of course, because we scored after two minutes. After the first goal, probably we improved mentally and we were able to play very well for 30-35 minutes.
“In the first half we were tired and in trouble, tired more mentally than physically. But it’s not easy to play (again) after 60 hours.
“We were not able to play simply. In the second half we did it better, better and better, probably because something changed in our minds after the first goal.”
If Sarri wins the Europa League to go with a possible top three finish does he deserve a second season Chelsea? Or is it time for Chelsea to go back to its core and bring Frank Lampard back as the manager next season with John Terry as the assistant manager.