Sarri must be given more time to adapt Chelsea, says Gianfranco Zola.

Chelsea assistant boss has backed his compatriot ahead of their Emirates FA Cup tie against Manchester United.

Chelsea assistant Zola. (ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Gianfranco Zola says Maurizio Sarri will need more time to implement a whole new system at Chelsea, like Pep Guardiola did at Manchester City.

The Chelsea assistant boss has backed his compatriot ahead of their Emirates FA Cup tie against Manchester United on Monday night as he hopes they seal a win over the Red Devils in the competition for the third consecutive season.

Humiliating defeats to Bournemouth and Manchester City has seen Sarri's side fall to sixth in the Premier League, with sections of the Blues fans upset with the former Napoli head-coach and majority suggesting the Italian is too stubborn to make changes, a notion Zola says is wrong.

‘How do you know we are not making changes?’ said Sarri's assistant as reported when asked why more changes haven’t been made in recent weeks.

‘We are adjusting a few things, because I understand this is the Premier League, but without changing where we want to go. The direction is always the same. Two years ago you were probably asking the same question to Pep Guardiola. I do remember. Because I remember you were always asking him about playing out from the back. I remember the answers of Pep. He said this is not up for discussion, this is part of my game, I know I’m going through a difficult moment but I won’t change it.

Chelsea coach Maurizio Sarri. [Reuters]

‘Maybe he has changed it. I think Pep’s improved a lot because he’s got his team defending better, pressing better and attacking better, so he’s adapted but he hasn’t changed the way he sees football.

‘I think we are pretty much in a similar moment. There are a lot of questions about what we do. There are a lot of doubts about what we do but we are trying to adapt to the league and make some changes, but we don’t change the way we see football or what we believe is good for this club, otherwise we are nothing.

‘If you see the evolution of Manchester City from two years ago you admire what Pep has done, it’s a good inspiration because not everything comes together straight away, especially when you are very ambitious with what you want to do.’

Speaking of the 10-day period that could define Chelsea's season, starting with tonight's tie against Ole Gunnar Solsjkaer's Red Devils, Zola said: ‘It’s the fifth round (of the FA Cup) and Carabao Cup final so they are very good targets.

‘But there’s also the game against Tottenham and the Champions League is a big target for the club, of course.’

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