Fan criticism not helpful to Chelsea players - Sarri

While Chelsea fans' criticism of Maurizio Sarri is not affecting the coach, he is keen to protect his players.

Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri spoke about the discontentment among the club's supporters.   -  Getty Images

Maurizio Sarri encouraged Chelsea fans to create a positive atmosphere during Wednesday's clash with Brighton and Hove Albion, claiming criticism of his coaching harms the team.

Blues supporters were vocal with their frustrations during a 2-1 win at Cardiff City on Sunday, with several fans chanting for Sarri to be sacked as they trailed in the closing stages.

Chelsea turned the situation around but the Italian, while not concerned by the criticism, does not want the negative climate to be repeated in midweek.

"I think [the fans] have to help the players during the match," Sarri told a pre-match news conference. "After, they can say anything. But during, I hope they can help my players.

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"I think we are a group and, at the moment, I think we are a good group, so it's not helpful for my players.

"For me, it isn't a problem. I am 60, so I can understand. But when I was 25, it was probably different."

Sarri also offered a defence of his record at Chelsea, saying: "I am not happy, but I am not concerned. I can understand very well the frustrations, but we are not doing so badly.

"We have won 33 games and I think, in England, only Manchester City have done better than us."