When you have only 10 matches to play, every match you are not able to win is a missed opportunity,’ sighed Sarri, having seen his side dominate possession to the tune of 76 percent, force 13 corners and pepper Rui Patricio’s goal with 22 shots.
‘We made a lot of mistakes but we deserved to win. On the other hand, we need to improve with our attacking. We needed to move the ball faster, we needed more movements without the ball, more movements into space, behind the line.’
Chelsea were at times ponderous and unimaginative in their approach play, unable to pierce a well-organised defence which was protected by a deep midfield, until Sarri cut loose from his tactical shackles for the first time.
MATCH FACTS AND STATS
CHELSEA (4-3-3): Kepa 6; Azpilicueta 6, Luiz 6, Rudiger 6.5, Emerson 6; Kante 6, Jorginho 5 (Willian 71′, 5), Kovacic 5(Loftus-Cheek 56′, 6); Pedro 5.5(Hudson-Odoi 61′, 5), Higuain 5, Hazard 6.5
Subs not used: Barkley, Loftus-Cheek, Caballero, Giroud, Christensen
Goal: Hazard 90+2
Manager: Maurizio Sarri
WOLVES (3-5-2): Rui Patricio 7; Saiss 7, Coady 7.5, Boly 8; Doherty 6.5, Dendoncker 7, Neves 6.5, Moutinho 6.5, Jonny 6; Jimenez 6.5 (Traore 88′), Jota 6 (Gibbs-White 81′)
Subs not used: Cavaleiro, Helder Costa, Ruddy, Vinagre, Kilman
Booked: Doherty, Boly, Saiss
Goal: Jiminez 55
Manager: Nuno Espirito Santo
Referee: Michael Oliver
Ten minutes into the second half and Jimenez fired them ahead with an untidy finish to complete a clinical counter-attack.
Jimenez and Diogo Jota traded passes as they sliced through Chelsea and Cesar Azpilicueta recovered just in time to slide in and deflect the Mexican’s shot past goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga.
Higuain, Pedro, Loftus-Cheek and Willian forced Patricio into late saves before Hazard stepped up, better late than never as far as Chelsea were concerned.
‘A great player who can solve the situation in any moment,’ said Sarri.