Maurizio Sarri Says He Still Doesn't 'Know the Character' of His Chelsea Team

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistNovember 26, 2018

Chelsea's Italian head coach Maurizio Sarri gestures from the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea at Wembley Stadium in London, on November 24, 2018. (Photo by Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. /         (Photo credit should read DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has said he's still discovering what kind of character his team has after they suffered their first defeat of the season in Saturday's 3-1 loss at Tottenham Hotspur

The Blues were embarrassed by their London rivals at Wembley Stadium, and Sarri, who referred to their capitulation in previous seasons as "strange," said he's still learning much about his squad, per ESPN FC's Liam Twomey:

"I don't know the character of the team. I think it's very strange. [In 2014-15] 87 points, the season after 50 points. Then 93 again, then 70.

"Of course I hope for a reaction, first of all during training, and then in the next match. But I knew very well that we had problems, I knew very well that we had to work.

"Now everyone knows it. We have to work on all the reactions, I think."

However, the Italian suggested he'll look to solve his problems primarily through tactics rather than using the transfer market, adding: "We have to try to improve first of all the team, and then player by player."

Chelsea went 18 competitive games unbeaten under Sarri and hadn't tasted defeat since the Community Shield collapse against Manchester City in August.

Regarding Sarri's tactics, many have questioned the manager's decision to move N'Golo Kante outside his usual home in deep-lying midfield, a decision that hasn't sat well with all fans, via BBC 5 Live Sport:

BBC 5 Live Sport on BBC Sounds @5liveSport

"He's proved his best position is in front of the defence...I think we're wasting Kanté's ability." Does Maurizio Sarri need to rethink #CFC's formation & starting line-up? #BBC606 https://t.co/eHyd09ioHy

The 50-point campaign of 2015-16, when Jose Mourinho was fired midseason and the side eventually ran to 10th under interim chief Guus Hiddink, is a particular anomaly in Chelsea's recent history. But even with that season accounted for, Chelsea's average points tally over those last four campaigns is 72.5.

The loss to Tottenham was a sudden stop to Chelsea's encouraging run as Dele Alli, Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son all got on the score sheet, and substitute Olivier Giroud provided the visitors' consolation.

Author Mark Worrall at least predicted Chelsea wouldn't have too difficult a time getting results back on track ahead of an easier-looking December:

Mark Worrall @gate17marco

Chelsea's Premier League fixture list, December. Fulham Wolves Man City Brighton Leicester Watford Palace City aside, it's not exactly daunting. A great opportunity in fact for Sarri to rewind & come again. Not expecting major changes but hoping for some adaptability.

Sarri was confirmed as Chelsea manager in mid-July and thus didn't have a full first transfer window at Stamford Bridge. He inherited a squad partly built by predecessors Mourinho and Antonio Conte but nonetheless made a fast start to life in west London.

Former Premier League midfielder Paul Ince appeared on Match of the Day and said £50 million summer signing Jorginho was pivotal to Chelsea's play, and stopping him was key to halting them altogether:

Match of the Day @BBCMOTD

Is this the key to stopping Chelsea? #MOTD2 #CFC https://t.co/nWyUonWTMK

Chelsea return to action at home to Greek outfit PAOK in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday.