Maurizio Sarri holds crisis talks with Chelsea players after heavy Bournemouth loss
Italian manager bemused by side's implosion in their 4-0 defeat that sees them remain outside top four in Premier League
Unable to fathom his team's second-half capitulation, Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri kept his players in the locker room for around an hour after a humiliating 4-0 loss at Bournemouth on Wednesday.
His assistants weren't allowed in the room. The media was kept waiting. Sarri simply wanted answers.
"I needed to understand," Sarri said. "It's impossible to play in such a different way between the first and second half. I don't understand why."
Sarri even started to question himself.
"Maybe it's my fault," he added, "maybe I'm not able to motivate them."
From being goalless at half time, Chelsea conceded four goals to slump to its heaviest loss so far in Sarri's turbulent reign. It is back-to-back league defeats for Chelsea, who were outplayed in a 2-0 loss at Arsenal 11 days earlier.
That led to a coruscating attack from Sarri on his players' attitude and mentality. It has not had the desired effect, with Chelsea now out of the top four - on goals scored below Arsenal - in the race to secure one of the four Uefa Champions League qualification positions.
Gonzalo Higuain was handed a first Premier League start by Chelsea after his loan move from Juventus. It was a sobering night for the Argentine striker.
He was substituted after 65 minutes, having failed to record a shot on target or look a significant upgrade on Olivier Giroud — the target man already at the London club.
"You don't know what you are doing," sang Chelsea's fans when Sarri sent on Giroud as a replacement for Higuain, supposedly the answers to Chelsea's scoring problems.
Sarri added: "In this moment I feel frustrated," he added. "Not pressure, I am frustrated because I didn't see the sign of my work so I am frustrated.
"We have only to say sorry to our fans because we can lose, of course, every match we can lose, but not in this way, we need to solve the problem and we need to understand where the problem is."
Josh King scored either side of a superb solo strike from David Brooks, before Charlie Daniels added a fourth for Bournemouth in second-half stoppage time.
Updated: January 31, 2019 12:05 PM