Chelsea

Maurizio Sarri explains substitutions and system change in draw against Wolves!

Maurizio Sarri brought on both academy products in the second half of the 1-1 stalemate

Chelsea missed out on the chance to move into fifth after a late 1-1 draw with Wolves at Stamford Bridge. Spurs’ shock 2-1 defeat at Southampton on Saturday had given the Blues a major boost in the race for a Champions League spot but they failed to capitalise on it. Raul Jimenez had opened the scoring for the visitors in the 56th minute and it appeared that Wolves would do the double over Maurizio Sarri and his men, having won at Molineux earlier in the season.

However, the Blues came away with a point after Eden Hazard found the net in stoppage time with a low strike from the edge of the area that found the bottom corner.

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Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri hailed the impact of the two changes in Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Callum Hudson-Odoi, but insisted it was the change in formation that made the difference against Wolves. The Blues salvaged a point late on against their visitors when Eden Hazard fired in an injury-time goal to make it 1-1 at Stamford Bridge, cancelling out a breakaway goal from Raul Jimenez in the first half which was their only chance on goal.

Maurizio Sarri said he brought Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Callum Hudson-Odoi on against Wolves because he felt Chelsea needed more of a physical presence and someone who could go past players. Loftus-Cheek and Hudson-Odoi both came on as second-half substitutes, while Sarri then made a switch to 4-2-3-1 when Jorginho was replaced by Willian with 18 minutes of the game to go. And Sarri revealed what he wanted from both Loftus-Cheek and Hudson-Odoi when he decided to bring them on.

“We started [coming on first] with Loftus because, in my opinion, we needed more physical impact in the opposition box,” Sarri said. “Then Odoi because it was impossible to change our match in that moment of the match, so it was really very important to have a player very able in one against one. Then, in the end, we changed for the first time in the season the system, and played 4-2-3-1 for the last 20 minutes.

But it’s not easy, of course, because the problem wasn’t the system, but our way of playing. We need to move the ball faster. We cannot play five or six touches in that situation. It’s very difficult to score if you do.”

Author’s Take:

Loftus-Cheek needs to be eased back into action, but even 60 minutes of him at the start of the game could have made a massive difference, for him then to be substituted and the back managed in the right way. The England international still hasn’t started a game since January 5 for the Blues, but that has to end soon.

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