Ross Barkley insisted “good times are ahead” as he backed Chelsea head coach Maurizio Sarri amid growing pressure, highlighting Pep Guardiola’s early struggles at Manchester City.
Sarri’s Chelsea future has been brought into question ahead of Sunday’s EFL Cup final against City following three defeats in six matches in all competitions.
Chelsea have dropped down to sixth in the Premier League, while their FA Cup defence was ended in the fifth round by Manchester United amid criticism over Sarri’s style of play.
Barkley, however, leapt to the defence of Sarri – who has been linked with a return to Italy via Serie A outfit Roma.
“We’re learning every day,” said Barkley. “We are all top-class players and we all want to learn more. If you compare Pep Guardiola’s first season [2016-17], they went through a bit of an up-and-down spell. When I was at Everton, we beat them 4-0.
“We have got ambition to be one of the best footballing sides in the world. We’re one of the biggest clubs in the world.
“The style of play the manager wants is not where it is at now. Over time it will come. Bad days don’t always stay. Good times are ahead.
“We are doing it every day in training. I am sure, with time, you will see how good it will be.”
“Every manager has their own way of approaching games,” added Barkley. “We did similar things at Everton under Roberto Martinez. It’s just a way of being organised in a game. It’s only going to help us. Personally, I don’t mind it.
“He tries to improve every player. Throughout his career, you can see at Napoli how well he did with the players he had, how much he improved them. We went through a bit of an up-and-down spell in the last couple of weeks, but we’re confident we’ll come through it and achieve success.”
Former Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane and club favourite Frank Lampard – now in charge of Championship outfit Derby County – have already been linked with Chelsea.
“Over the years – me not being at the club – you see managers come, managers go,” Barkley said. “It’s all about success, winning trophies. That’s why I came to the club. If things aren’t going well there’s always going to be pressure that comes with it.”