Give Sarri more time and players: Hasselbaink

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri needs time and squad reinforcements, with Eden Hazard (left) attracting interest from Real Madrid.
Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri needs time and squad reinforcements, with Eden Hazard (left) attracting interest from Real Madrid.PHOTO: REUTERS

Maurizio Sarri should be given more time as Chelsea manager, but the club's success next season will also depend greatly on whether they can get their transfer ban lifted.

Those are the views of former Blues striker Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, who will be in Singapore to catch the Manchester United-Chelsea game tonight at the Football Moments event, presented by Chang Beer and organised by Singtel Media, at the Clarke Quay Fountain Square.

A win would strengthen Chelsea's hopes for a top-four finish and qualification to the Champions League next season. They are fourth on 67 points, one ahead of Arsenal and three ahead of United in sixth, with three games left.

Hasselbaink, 47, felt that Chelsea and Sarri have to make a statement that they are going in the right direction by beating United.

He told the Sunday Times: "The team started the season really well and expectations were raised because they went 12 games unbeaten and were top of the table.

"But a lot of (observers) knew they could not maintain the position. They don't have the squad that Manchester City or Liverpool have.

"Sarri came in with a totally different style which other teams eventually adapted to, and Chelsea themselves have not really adapted.

ADVERSE IMPACT

Sarri came in with a totally different style which other teams eventually adapted to, and Chelsea themselves have not really adapted.

JIMMY FLOYD HASSELBAINK, former Chelsea striker, on manager Maurizio Sarri.

"Sunday will be a very important match and Chelsea must show they can beat a top-six rival away, something they have not done all season.

"And once the season is over, you have to look at the pluses and minuses, and then build on that by giving Sarri more time because the club have made a decision to go with his style by appointing him."

The Dutchman also feels Chelsea need to strengthen their squad, with the London club set to lose their top striker Eden Hazard to Real Madrid.

But that will depend on whether the Blues can overturn Fifa's two-window transfer ban for breaching rules related to the signing of foreign players under the age of 18.

He said: "Chelsea definitely need to strengthen the squad, regardless of whether Hazard stays or goes.

"They need a better balance, and in midfield, they also need more creativity, like what Manchester City have in players like Kevin de Bruyne. They also need a left-back, centre-half and most importantly, an out-and-out striker that is top quality."

Hasselbaink (1999, 2001) and Ivorian Didier Drogba (2007, 2010) are the only two Chelsea strikers to top the league's scoring charts in the last 20 years.

And he believes he knows why the Argentinian Gonzalo Higuain, with four goals in 14 games, has struggled since his loan move from Juventus in January.

Hasselbaink said: "You need to be at your physical peak. It's a lot quicker and more physical than the Italian Serie A or Spanish LaLiga.

"Higuain is (31), he needs time to adapt... If he were 26 and arrived in the Premier League, it would have been easier for him, and I am sure he would have done well."

Sazali Abdul Aziz

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 28, 2019, with the headline 'Give Sarri more time and players: Hasselbaink'. Print Edition | Subscribe