A frustrated Maurizio Sarri felt his Chelsea side did not move the ball quick enough against an opponent that “didn’t want to play” as Eden Hazard rescued a late 1-1 draw with Wolves.
The Blues fell behind to the first shot on target they conceded at Stamford Bridge with Raul Jimenez completing a fine counter-attack for Wolves, who set up to frustrate their hosts, in the 56th minute.
It took a moment of brilliance from Hazard in injury time to finally break down the resilient visitors, but head coach Sarri was unhappy with Chelsea’s tempo in Sunday’s Premier League encounter.
“We were unlucky because we conceded a goal in the first situation inside our box – the first and the last, I think, in the whole 90 minutes – so we were unlucky for that,” he said.
“But, on the other hand, we need to improve with our attacking. The team could defend in the last 20 metres with 11 players.
“We needed to move the ball faster, we needed more movements without the ball, more movements into space, behind the line.
“We played at five touches. And so, if there are no spaces, it’s very difficult to score if you play with five or six touches against a very physical team with 11 players in the last 20 metres. We need to improve in this kind of situation.”
Sarri opted to change system to a 4-2-3-1 to break Wolves down.
Explaining his motivation for doing so, he added: “For the first time, we were playing against a team who didn’t want to play.
“They didn’t counter-attack in the last 20 minutes. So, we had to try, I think.”
Chelsea have garnered momentum in recent matches, with back-to-back Premier League wins prior to this draw boosting their top-four hopes.
Sarri concedes Chelsea missed a great opportunity to further enhance their cause on this occasion, but insists all is still to play for.
“When you have to play only 10 matches, every match you are not able to win is a missed opportunity,” he added.
“Today was a great opportunity. We were not able to take the opportunity by taking three points. But, in the last six matches, we won four matches and drew the other two.
“So there is a little bit of consistency at this moment. We have to think only for the next match. We need to recover two points immediately.”
Opposite number Nuno Espirito Santo praised the work ethic of his team, but acknowledged it was Hazard’s brilliance that cost Wolves.
“Yeah, we performed well,” he said.
“The first half, we were very organised and didn’t allow many things to Chelsea, who are a good team, have good possession of the ball.
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“We stayed compact, the second half we started well, got the goal and stayed in shape until the individual quality of one Chelsea player allowed them to score.”