A wet and windy night in Australia has seen Maurizio Sarri’s reign as Chelsea manager begin in promising fashion.
Donning his trademark tracksuit, Sarri encouraged his side to play an attacking brand of football as they defeat Perth Glory 1-0 thanks to Pedro’s first-half strike.
Chelsea lined up in a 4-3-3 formation and looked sharp from the kick-off, penning their opponents into their own half as they took control of proceedings.
And it took just five minutes for the Blues to grab their first goal of the Sarri era, with former Barcelona winger Pedro finishing first time after some impressive play from Callum Hudson-Odoi.
The 17-year-old turned Perth’s defence inside out before laying on the perfect ball for his Spanish team-mate and he was one who caught the eye in his 45-minute cameo.
For a team only a week into their preparations under new manager Sarri, Chelsea certainly didn’t appear confused by their new attacking approach.
Ross Barkley, a largely anonymous figure under Antonio Conte, looked sharp and dangerous spearheading a central midfield trio even if he did spurn one or two good chances.
Behind him, captain Fabregas and debutant Jorginho formed a solid pairing in the first half, linking up with ease.
Though Chelsea only went into the break with a 1-0 lead, their first-half approach didn’t lack attacking intent with the Blues rarely taking a backwards step in possession.
New signing Jorginho was integral to that and though replaced at half-time, he showed why he’ll be key to Sarri’s tactical approach in the season ahead.
The former Napoli midfielder’s absence was felt in the second half with Tiemoue Bakayoko struggling to replicate his performance as Glory sat even deeper in their own half.
Sarri cut an animated figure on the touchline throughout the match, rarely taking his seat and regularly wandering beyond the technical area – at times even encroaching onto the pitch.
Against a five-man Perth defence, Sarri’s attacking ambition was given a stern early test with an ineffective Alvaro Morata withdrawn on the hour mark by Tammy Abraham.
The 20-year-old Chelsea product looked more menacing than his Spanish counterpart but couldn’t find his side a second goal.
That left the Blues holding onto a 1-0 lead heading into the dying stages and while at times looking vulnerable to a counter-attack, Chelsea managed to hang on claim the win and a clean sheet.
That will come as small consolation for Sarri though, whose hunger for goals was not satisfied during an otherwise promising performance.
“I think with one or two adjustments, we can try to play my football,” Sarri vowed at his Chelsea unveiling.
And if this performance is anything to go by, the Blues do appear to be on the right track as ‘Sarri-ball’ starts rolling.