Football News

Chelsea boss Sarri praised for Jorginho-Kante positional ‘masterstroke’

By Ben Green

Published: 19:32, 30 May 2019

Former Chelsea winger Pat Nevin has lauded Maurizio Sarri’s “masterstroke” positioning of Jorginho and N’Golo Kante.

Sarri led the Blues to Europa League success on Wednesday night after thrashing Arsenal 4-1 in the final, clinching his first major trophy.

What is Sarri’s “masterstroke”? Five key things to know…

  1. Sarri joined Chelsea from Napoli last summer and immediately signed Jorginho from the club.
  2. Jorginho’s deep-lying playmaker role was essential to ‘Sarri-ball’ in Naples.
  3. Coming in at the base of a midfield three, Kante was forced out of his natural anchorman position and pushed further up the pitch.
  4. This proved a bone of contention among many Chelsea fans throughout the season, and remains a hot topic of discussion for some.
  5. However, Nevin has praised Sarri’s “masterstroke” move to push Kante up and sit Jorginho deep.

The Italian was appointed as Chelsea manager last summer from Napoli and wasted no time bringing Jorginho to west London with him.

Signed for £57m, the Blues pipped Manchester City to his signature and he was immediately drafted into Sarri’s starting XI as a deep-lying playmaker.

As such, Kante was forced further up the pitch, much to the chagrin of Chelsea fans, and when results weren’t going Sarri’s way, questions were raised of his decision-making.

However, Nevin believes those audacious tactical tweaks have now paid dividends with a Europa League title secured.

“Maurizio Sarri’s actually built something which is really nice looking and I’ve enjoyed watching it being built,” he told BBC Sport.

“We’d been talking about [Chelsea midfielder] Jorginho and Mesut Ozil, and whoever won that battle would make a big difference in the game, and Jorginho was immense.

“If Jorginho left right now, Manchester City would batter the door down to take him. That’s how good a player he is.

“I’d love to see Sarri get another year; he deserves it, to see if he can develop it further.

“I think some of the stuff that was said about Maurizio Sarri was nonsense. I thought the Jorginho thing was a masterstroke from the start, N’Golo Kante’s been brilliant since he moved further forward.”

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Jorginho: ‘apart from the criticism, we had a great season’

Jorginho, who completed more passes (2,782) than any player in the Premier League last season, highlighted the criticism his side received throughout the campaign, but says they “deserved” European success.

“It’s wonderful to win such an important trophy after a long, tough, difficult season, but I think we deserved it,” he told Sky Sport Italia.

“Aside from all the criticism, I think we had a great season. We finished third in the Premier League, reached the Final of the Carabao Cup even if we didn’t win it in the end and won this trophy.”