Sarri bemused as Chelsea slump to 2-0 loss at Everton
There was no locker-room lockdown from Maurizio Sarri this time. No public show of disgust toward any of his players, either.
Instead, just a look of bemusement across the face of the Chelsea coach.
"It's very difficult for me to explain," Sarri said after his team's second-half implosion in a 2-0 loss at Everton in the Premier League yesterday. "The players don't know what happened. At the moment, I don't really know the change."
It has become something of a ritual now: Sarri -- looking beleaguered and anguished -- emerging from an away dressing room and struggling to make sense of a disappointing Chelsea performance.
That's four losses in Chelsea's last five league matches on the road. They have included a 4-0 loss at Bournemouth -- when Sarri kept his players inside the locker room for an hour after the game, demanding answers -- and a 6-0 loss at Manchester City, which was arguably the low point of Chelsea's season.
Also during the last two months was that bizarre English League Cup final against Man City, when goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga refused an order from Sarri to be substituted, leading to the Italian getting enraged on the sidelines at Wembley and almost storming out of the stadium.
Chelsea's players are proving to be a real challenge for their coach.
With Eden Hazard in sparkling form, Chelsea overwhelmed Everton in the first half and had enough chances to win the game by half-time. Hazard struck the post and forced a fine low save from Jordan Pickford, who also defied Jorginho.
"Today, we played the best 45 minutes of the season," Sarri said.
But then came the second half, when Chelsea virtually fell apart and Everton ended their 26-month wait for a victory over a team from the Premier League's "Big Six."
Brazil forward Richarlison nodded home the rebound after Kepa saved from Dominic Calvert-Lewin at a corner in the 49th minute, then earned the penalty from which Gylfi Sigurdsson eventually scored in the 72nd after being tripped by Marcos Alonso.
Sigurdsson's spot kick was saved by Kepa but the ball spurted out into the path of the Iceland playmaker, who couldn't miss from inside the six-yard box.