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30th May 2019

Cesc Fabregas explains why Maurizio Sarri stormed off before Europa League final

Kyle Picknell

Maurizio Sarri won his first major trophy in almost 20 years of professional coaching with Chelsea’s victory in the Europa League final on Wednesday night

Chelsea beat Arsenal 4-1 on Wednesday to lift the Europa League and hand Maurizio Sarri his first ever major trophy as a football manager. Unless you’re counting the Serie D Coppa Italia he led Sansovino to in 2003. I’m assuming you’re not.

Sarri was evidently delighted after the game, pulling out and lighting an extremely chunky cigar and also taking a rather touching moment to admire the medal dangling around his neck.

In the build-up to the game itself, however, it wasn’t all plain sailing and a heated open training session on Tuesday night ended with the former banker chucking his cap before storming off the field and then booting it for good measure.

Defender David Luiz and forward Gonzalo Higuain were filmed exchanging a few choice words with each other during the five-a-side drill before Sarri left the field, but it has since emerged that wasn’t what caused the manager’s reaction.

Former Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas, who was working as a BT Sport pundit during the game, has revealed the real reason Sarri appeared so furious during his team’s training.

It’s all to do with a superstition the Italian has about working on set pieces as the very last thing a day before the game.

Fabregas explained:

“I guarantee this is the truth. I know him. He’s very superstitious. He loves to do set piece tactics, offensively, defensively, as the last thing the day before the game. And they didn’t allow him to do it because it was an open session.

[But they would have told him it was an open session?]

“For sure, for sure. And that’s the weird thing about it. The superstition… It’s too much for him! ”

Obviously, it’s not ideal having your manager throw a tantrum in front of a large group of journalists before a major European final, but either way, it didn’t prove to have a negative on his team as they swept aside a hapless Arsenal side thanks to two goals from Eden Hazard, in likely his last ever game for the club, and one each from Giroud and Pedro.

Whether Sarri remains at the club beyond the summer, however, remains to be seen. In his own words, he “deserves to stay” and after Wednesday night you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who disagrees with him.