LONDON (Reuters) - Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri tore into his players for the second successive Premier League game, repeating his claim that he cannot motivate them after a 4-0 drubbing at Bournemouth left the Londoners outside the top four.
His side, with Gonzalo Higuain given a Premier League debut but then substituted, had controlled the first half.
But they were picked off after the break as Joshua King scored twice, either side of a goal for David Brooks. Charlie Daniels completed the rout in stoppage time.
It was Chelsea’s worst league defeat since 1996 and the heat will be on Italian Sarri whose side have now lost consecutive league games without scoring a goal.
After a 2-0 defeat at Arsenal, the former Napoli boss slammed the mentality of his players.
After the latest setback, he locked them in the changing room for nearly an hour, having told the rest of the coaching staff, including Chelsea great Gianfranco Zola, to leave.
“In that moment I wanted to talk to them alone, without anybody,” Sarri, who replaced Antonio Conte before the start of the season, told reporters.
“I needed to understand, it was so different in the first and second half.
“In the first half we could never see that the second half would be a disaster. We stopped playing. We didn’t play like a team. It’s difficult to understand why.
“I’m not able to motivate these players. We need to play with a different mentality.”
Chelsea’s fans looked on in shock as their team crumbled and when loanee Higuain was hauled off they sang: “You don’t know what you’re doing” to Sarri.
Daniels’ goal in stoppage time meant Arsenal moved above Chelsea into fourth spot by virtue of more goals scored.
Asked if his squad was good enough to finish in the top four, he said: “I think so, maybe we are not at the top of the table. But we cannot lose 4-0 to Bournemouth.
“Maybe it is my fault that I am not able to motivate them.”
Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Pritha Sarkar