It has not happened too often for the Italian during his debut season in English football but in the Frankfurt furnace, the manager had the coolest head.
When the teamsheets emerged, the tone of the evening was set. For a European semi-final, Chelsea’s best player Eden Hazard started on the bench. It was a potentially calamitous call.
Chelsea have crashed and burned away from home against far worse sides than Eintracht Frankfurt this season and Hazard has often been a one-man tornado, swirling away from opponents and turbo-charging Chelsea’s hopes and dreams.
Yet from Sarri’s perspective, it was logical. The Italian is simply trying to stay in a job and he has calculated that Chelsea’s most probable route to the Champions League is through a top-four finish in the Premier League.
Now two points clear of Arsenal, Chelsea can win two games – Watford at home, Leicester away – and they are back among the elite. Keep Hazard fresh for those and the Belgian should see his team over the line.
Yet Hazard, most likely keen to end his Chelsea career with a medal around his neck next month, will not have welcomed the call.
He did arrive on the hour, by which time Frankfurt’s frantic tempo had slowed, and he helped Chelsea to a creditable draw. It helped, too, that Sarri’s team demonstrated resolve that has not always been apparent this season.
Yet Frankfurt is a serious outfit and in 21-year-old forward Luka Jovic, they possess one of the continent’s most gifted talents. Frankfurt battered Shakhtar Donetsk on this ground and have since knocked out Inter Milan and Benfica.