Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has launched a scathing attack at his players following Saturday's Premier League defeat to Arsenal at Emirates Stadium. In his post-match rant, the Italian coach insinuated that his "group of players are extremely difficult to motivate".
Chelsea's chance of securing a spot in the top four is currently threatened following the 2-0 defeat to its cross-city rival. First-half goals by Alexander Lacazette and Laurent Koscielny ensured that Arsenal cut down the six-point advantage held by the Blues prior to kick-off to just three.
In fairness, Maurizio Sarri's men hardly posed a threat in front of the opposition's goal having started without an established forward for the umpteenth time in the premiership this season. And, following the disappointing turn of events, the ex-Napoli manager could not hold back with his criticism of his players at his post-match press conference.
"Today I prefer to speak Italian first of all because I want to send a message to my players and I want my message to be very clear.
"I have to say I'm extremely angry, very angry indeed. This defeat was due to our mentality, more than anything else.
"This is something I can't accept.
"This group of players are extremely difficult to motivate.
"From a technical point of view both teams were on the same sort of level, but they had a higher level of determination in both penalty areas, so tactics don't come into it. I can't possibly say I am not partly responsible for the defeat. We have to share it.
"This is not a team that is going to be well known for its battling qualities, but we need to become a team that is capable of adapting, possibly suffering for 10 or 15 minutes, and then playing our own football. Today we didn't play our own football."
After respective cup games against Tottenham and Sheffield Wednesday, the Chelsea will travel away to Bournemouth in its next Premier League outing in a bid to keep the top four hopes alive despite the pressure from Arsenal and Manchester United.