In the end, it was not to be for Chelsea after they lost 4-3 on penalties to Manchester City in the Carabao Cup final at Wembley over the weekend.
The Blues, however, can take some much-needed encouragement from the game having put in a strong display which has earned praise from their manager Maurizio Sarri.
“After this match I have to say that I am sure, because they played exactly what I asked, today I am proud of my players,” Sarri told Sky Sports after the Wembley defeat when quizzed about his players’ faith in him.
“I think we are improving, we have improved a lot [last three matches]. Today we showed to everyone we could become a very solid team, because we conceded nothing to our opponents, and against Man City that is not easy.”
In the grand scheme of things, as well as the Chelsea players, supporters can also take encouragement from Sarri’s words and that recent performance — or at least those who believe in what Sarri is trying to deliver at Stamford Bridge and are desperate for him to remain in west London.
Even after the whole Kepa Arrizabalaga fiasco, based on that display, the Chelsea players look to be on side after executing the Italian’s game plan to a T for 120 minutes.
Sarri, of course, has been the first person to come out and say his players have not always played his way of football (ESPN). However, a lot times when that has been the case and the Blues have started playing in another way, it has not been done in a mutinous way as often suggested.
Rather, it just looks to be a result of panic getting the better of them, as well as pressure from the crowd, especially when at home.
On top of that, there are quite a few players in that starting XI who simply do not look capable of playing the way Sarri is demanding. Simply put, they are struggling now that purple patch at the start of the season is over, not rebelling.
Against Manchester City, though, everyone was on song, and it is now just about showing that on a consistent basis with the likes of Emerson, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Callum Hudson-Odoi all showing Sarri that they are three players who are definitely capable of playing Sarri-ball.