Maurizio Sarri admitted that Chelsea need attacking reinforcements after they wasted a chance to cement their place in the Premier League’s top four with a 0-0 draw against struggling Southampton on Wednesday.
Sarri’s team remain in fourth place, but they are now just three points ahead of fifth placed Arsenal in the race to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
It was a frustrating evening for Chelsea, who dominated possession but lacked any cutting edge, maintaining a worrying sequence for Sarri.
His side failed to score for the third time in their last five Premier League games at Stamford Bridge, raising more questions about Chelsea’s need for a top-class striker in the January transfer window.
“The club knows my opinion. I think we need something else for our characteristics,” Sarri said when asked if he would consider recalling on-loan forwards Michy Batshuayi and Tammy Abraham.
Quizzed on the possibility of signing a new forward, he made it clear the responsibility lies with owner Roman Abramovich as he said: “It depends on the board, not on me.
“I have to think of my responsibility with the training. I have to try to improve my players in the offensive phase.
“We played a good match for 80 metres, then we were in trouble in the last 20 metres.
“We have to try to solve the problem. We were in control of every match recently, but it was not easy to score the first goal.”
With Olivier Giroud sidelined after suffering an ankle injury in Sunday’s win at Crystal Palace, Sarri opted to recall misfiring striker Alvaro Morata.
Morata has played so badly this season that Sarri had used Belgian winger Eden Hazard in the central forward’s role recently rather than turn to the Spaniard, who managed only seven goals this term and none in the league since November 4.
But once again, former Real Madrid star Morata looked completely bereft of touch and confidence.
It was no surprise Morata wasted a golden opportunity to open the scoring when he met Cesar Azpilicueta’s long pass with a tame header straight at 22-year-old Angus Gunn – the son of ex-Norwich goalkeeper Bryan Gunn.
Having announced the signing of Borussia Dortmund midfielder Christian Pulisic earlier in the day, Chelsea are planning ahead following a season of inconsistent displays from Willian and Pedro on the right flank.