Maurizio Sarri is under pressure of losing his job at Chelsea after a run of bad results, but he is doing better than Pep Guardiola was in his first season.
The Italian manager gained some much-needed breathing room on Thursday night with a 3-0 win over Malmo in the Europa League, following several reports that he is not long for the chop.
Sarri recently said winning is the only way he can change the opinion Chelsea fans have of him, but those supporters may have the wrong end of the stick due to a statistic that emerged from the side’s most recent victory.
It turns out that Sarri is currently having a better first season in England than Pep Guardiola did in his initial year at Man City, when the Spaniard guided his charges to third in the Premier League table behind Spurs and Chelsea.
That win over Malmo was Sarri’s 28th in his first 43 games in all competitions, one more than his Catalan counterpart managed in 2016-17, although he has two more in that time also.
28- Maurizio Sarri has won 28 of his first 43 games in charge of Chelsea in all competitions (D6 L9), one more than Pep Guardiola managed in his first 43 with Manchester City (W27 D9 L7). Impressive. pic.twitter.com/bkvg1cKQvA
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 21, 2019
The parallels between the two men’s first seasons are actually quite striking: City won their first ten games under Guardiola, before the wheels came off the wagon a few months into the season; the Blues won their opening six games under Sarri, and even went undefeated until November before results started going awry.
It’s also possible that Sarri could end the season empty handed as Guardiola did in 2017, the first time in his managerial that had happened, although Chelsea do face City in the League Cup final this weekend.
Pep did arrive at Eastlands with a reputation for brilliant football and, most importantly, success, and joined a club that were eager to give him as much time as necessary to implement his vision.
Contrastingly Sarri has not won anything in football, and despite building one of the most thrilling sides in Europe at Napoli, he is at a club that is infamously trigger happy and has no qualms about sacking successful managers; the last three head coaches to win the league at Stamford Bridge were all gone a season later.