Chelsea

Tony Cascarino: Chelsea played with a small-club mentality against Liverpool

Tony Cascarino: Chelsea played with a small-club mentality against Liverpool

After clawing themselves back into a good position in the race for top four, Chelsea now have it all to do again following their 2-0 defeat to Liverpool.

The Blues now sit in fifth after that loss having played a game more than fourth-placed Arsenal, and one of their former players has since come out to criticise their recent performance.

In his Times column, ex-Chelsea striker Tony Cascarino wrote: “Chelsea were disappointing, playing with a small-club mentality and, but for the odd flash of creativity involving Eden Hazard, they didn’t look like they could even take a point off Liverpool.”

The Sky Sports pundit’s small-club mentality take probably stems from Maurizio Sarri’s decision not to use a recognised striker and deploy Eden Hazard as a false 9 instead.

And while such a tactical tweak went on to backfire in an offensive sense, saying Chelsea approached the game with a small-club mentality is a tad harsh when considering the whole complexion of the west London club’s season.

Many have called for Sarri to adapt his tactics, especially in games like the one against Liverpool where the Blues have previously been defensively vulnerable and have been punished for it, and the Italian did just that.

By ditching Gonzalo Higuain and moving Hazard up front, Sarri was able to get two wingers, Willian and Callum Hudson-Odoi, who are more willing to track back than the Belgian, in the side.

A match against a side with offensively dangerous full-backs Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold, it was clearly a move Sarri felt he had to make and one that arguably worked when it came to naturalising the duo.

Evident from Cascarino’s latest criticism, though, that is not enough from a coach who just cannot please anyone in this moment of time.

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