Maurizio Sarri’s first season as manager must be considered a “phenomenal” success if Chelsea win the Europa League, according to Blues legend Pat Nevin.
Chelsea finished third in the Premier League, were runners-up in the League Cup and face Arsenal in the all-London final in Baku, Azerbaijan, on Wednesday.
“I would be absolutely delighted if Sarri is here next season and gets another chance to go and develop what he has been developing this season,” Nevin told West London Sport.
“If Sarri finishes a season as runner-up to Manchester City in the Carabao Cup after extra time and penalties, third in the league and wins a European trophy, then that is a phenomenal season.”
At one stage Wednesday’s match against the Gunners looked like being a decider for the right to play Champions League football next term.
But Chelsea’s placing behind Manchester City and Liverpool means their spot is already secured, while Arsenal have to win to be certain of returning to Europe’s premier competition.
“Playing in the Europa League final is fantastic for Chelsea but for Arsenal it’s a much more important match,” added respected pundit Nevin, who played for the Blues from 1983 to 88.
“It was massive until Chelsea got third in the league and now it’s fun and they can go and enjoy it.”
Despite achieving the board’s aims for the season, Sarri’s attempts to change the style using Jorginho as the midfield fulcrum in a more possession-based system has brought a mixed response from supporters.
Nevin said some of the criticism aimed at Sarri and a few of the players has made him almost “laugh his head off”.
“I find it quite funny,” Nevin added. “Some people say things and then it becomes de rigueur.
“People were telling me that David Luiz was not a good footballer. What? Have you had a look? Is there a better footballer playing centre-back coming out with ball? He is phenomenal.
“With Jorginho, people will figure it out. They have no idea how good that guy is.
“It will be helpful to get a natural scorer who is on form and the focal point for the team but it’s been a brilliant season.”