Guardiola defends under-pressure Sarri following Chelsea's biggest defeat in 28 years
(Getty Images - Matt McNulty)

Guardiola defends under-pressure Sarri following Chelsea's biggest defeat in 28 years

Pep Guardiola was quick to defend his opposition manager following the Citizen's emphatic 6-0 victory as the Premier League winning manager compared Sarri's debut season with similarities to his own.

Joshua Kerr

When a press conference opens with questions surrounding the future of your job then you know it's been a bad day at the office.

That was the mood in the Etihad Stadium press room when Maurizio Sarri answered the media's questions following Chelsea's biggest defeat in Premier League history - there worst since 1991.

What had initially started as a breath of fresh air at Stamford Bridge has quickly soured into something obscenely toxic in just a short few months. December showed us signs that Sarri's progress was never going to be straight forward. 

The pressure seemed to have affected the Italian boss greatly at the final whistle when Sarri appeared to upset one of his greatest admirers in the game when he apparently snubbed Pep Guardiola in the handshake at full-time.

Any concerns of a bust-up between the two managers were quickly put to bed with Guardiola sharing some words with Gianfranco Zola moments after the final whistle and Sarri confirming he and the Man City boss would later share a glass of wine together. 

No assurences of Sarri's job could be made following the 6-0 battering with the 60-year-old's future being described as "always at risk" with his case made worse by his players conceding "stupid" goals.

'Sarri ball' will take time

If anyone understands the struggles of an underachieving debut season then none spring to mind quicker than Guardiola who faced similar scrutiny when his Citizens side were beaten 4-0 at Goodison Park back in 2017.

Considering the progress made since that embarrassing afternoon in Merseyside it certainly makes a case for Sarri that in the Premier League sometimes these philosophies take time.

Guardiola was backed beyond his first season and the same could be applied to Sarri. The owners at City looked beyond the scorelines and focussed on the bigger picture which was what the Catalan boss spoke about in his post-match comments.

“Of course, I know exactly what he wants to do", said Guardiola.

"I think with this kind of performance the football always helps to make our football better."

"They beat us at Stamford Bridge, at Napoli last season they were tough/tight games and during moments of the games they were better than us. 

"But, I’ve said many times to people how difficult it is in the first year. My first year was difficult too. My first year we could not play the way I like to, some moments we play good but we were inconsistent.

"The people expect with the new manager that if you buy the players, you can immediately come in and win, but it needs time.

"It just depends on whether the believers or the owners, people who are in charge really believe in that.

"The main reason I decided to come to Manchester City because my bosses, the chairman Txiki [Begiristain] especially know me and I don’t have to convince him. He knows me especially when it’s not going well. And that is the reason why I am enjoying this period here in Manchester with this club.”