(Reuters) - Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri says he is getting used to fans calling for him to resign after his team laboured to a 2-1 victory over relegation-threatened Cardiff City on Sunday.
Chelsea needed a controversial goal from captain Cesar Azpilicueta from what appeared to be an offside position and an injury time header from midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek for the narrow win, which kept them sixth in the Premier League table.
Sarri’s decision to start with Eden Hazard and N’Golo Kante on the bench sparked off the criticism, with fans chanting “we want Sarri out” and “you don’t know what you’re doing” after their team fell behind just after half-time.
“I can understand (the fans’ reaction) very well,” Sarri told reporters. “I have been on the pitch for the last 45 years, so I know the reaction of the fans.
“Unfortunately, in the last period, I am getting used to this. I have to work just in order to change their opinion. If you win matches, the fans will be happy.”
Fans turned on Sarri, who joined Chelsea in July, after a string of poor results in 2019 that included a 4-0 defeat at Bournemouth, a 6-0 drubbing by Manchester City and a 2-0 defeat at Everton.
The Italian said he wanted to prove his detractors wrong.
“I want to stay,” Sarri said. “When I arrived, this team was 30 points behind Manchester City. They were fifth. So I want to stay here, I want to improve the results.”
Chelsea next face Brighton and Hove Albion in the league on Wednesday.
Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford