Sarri livid over Burnley insult

Fourth official Roger East stepping in as Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri and Burnley goalkeeping coach Billy Mercer clash during their English Premier League match at Stamford Bridge on Monday, while Blues assistant manager Gianfranco Zola watches. T
Fourth official Roger East stepping in as Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri and Burnley goalkeeping coach Billy Mercer clash during their English Premier League match at Stamford Bridge on Monday, while Blues assistant manager Gianfranco Zola watches. The teams drew 2-2, dampening Chelsea's top-four hopes.PHOTO: REUTERS

Alleged remarks from bench the last straw for Chelsea boss after sending-off in draw

LONDON • The Football Association will assess the referee Kevin Friend's match report from Stamford Bridge, before deciding whether to investigate claims lodged by Chelsea that Maurizio Sarri was repeatedly called "a s**t Italian" by members of Burnley's backroom staff.

The Blues manager was involved in numerous confrontations with those in the away technical area during Monday's fractious 2-2 Premier League draw, with frustrations spilling over in stoppage time as players clashed on the pitch.

Sarri was sent to the stands by the referee having run down the touchline, apparently to try and calm the situation, and appeared to point a finger at the Burnley goalkeeping coach Billy Mercer at the mouth of the tunnel as he departed.

It is understood that he heard members of the visitors' staff allegedly call him "a s**t Italian" on several occasions - the manager Sean Dyche was not involved.

Sarri skipped his post-match media conferences, with his assistant Gianfranco Zola confirming that his compatriot had been incensed by comments allegedly flung his way throughout the game.

"He's very frustrated. He's been sent off and I think he's been offended as well, so he didn't feel it was the right thing to speak," said Zola.

"He's frustrated at the game, frustrated at being sent off, and the other thing.

"I think he's been told something from their bench, but don't ask me exactly what. I don't want to go down that line, but we'll see what we can do about that.

"I think there will be a follow-up on that.

"Maurizio felt very unhappy. We understand it's a football game. You say words because of the adrenaline, but he wasn't happy."

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He's very frustrated. He's been sent off and I think he's been offended as well.

GIANFRANCO ZOLA, Chelsea assistant coach, on his boss Maurizio Sarri.

Chelsea are understood to have made the referee aware of what was said to Sarri on numerous occasions during the game and he has indicated he will include their allegations in his match report.

Dyche laughed off suggestions there had been bickering between the two benches.

"I don't think my coaches' language skills are that good," he said.

"It wouldn't have been a deep conversation. Woany's (his assistant, Ian Woan) from the Wirral."

The home side were also frustrated by Burnley's eagerness to run the clock down after the break as they got the point that in effect secured Premier League survival and potentially damaged Chelsea's hopes of finishing in the top four.

 
 
 

The Blues are in fourth place on 67 points, although Arsenal (66) could leapfrog them with a win or a draw at Wolves today.

"It's difficult when you play against a team who have two chances and score two goals and didn't want to play the game," said defender David Luiz.

"It's anti-football, losing time all the time, especially when you have the ball."

Goalkeeper Tom Heaton was booked for time-wasting as early as the 32nd minute.

Jeff Hendrick gave Burnley an early lead before N'Golo Kante and Gonzalo Higuain put Chelsea 2-1 ahead by the 14th minute.

However, Ashley Barnes drew the visitors level 10 minutes later.

Also, Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi has confirmed that he will miss the rest of the season after suffering a ruptured Achilles in the first half of the clash.

The 18-year-old's injury is a major blow for the Blues as they battle to finish in the top four and also face Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League semi-finals next month.

THE GUARDIAN, REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 24, 2019, with the headline 'Sarri livid over Burnley insult'. Print Edition | Subscribe