Chelsea head coach Maurizio Sarri hinted at his desire to recruit a striker in the winter transfer window after bemoaning his side’s lack of cutting edge in Wednesday’s goalless draw with Southampton.
The Blues dropped two points against a relegation-threatened Saints side who kept a clean sheet for the first time in 11 Premier League games.
Goalkeeper Angus Gunn, making his Premier League debut, twice denied Eden Hazard and Alvaro Morata had a strike ruled out for offside while also missing other opportunities as Sarri finally appeared to lose patience with the misfiring striker at Stamford Bridge.
He said: “On the bench I tried to do my job. I think we played a very good match for 80 metres of the pitch, then we were in trouble in the last 20 metres.
“We have to try to solve the problem of the last 15, 20 metres.”
Sarri revealed Olivier Giroud’s ankle injury is not as bad as first feared, but he dismissed the prospect of recalling Michy Batshuayi from Valencia or Tammy Abraham from Aston Villa.
The Italian suggested his preference was to recruit a new striker, but given Chelsea’s board, chiefly director Marina Granovskaia, are responsible for transfers, it is by no means certain Sarri’s wish will be granted.
He added: “The club knows very well my opinion. I think we need something different for characteristics.
“I’m not in charge of the market. I have to try to improve my players, my team, my offensive phase, or better my offensive phase in the last 20 metres.
“The club knows my position, my opinion. It’s up to the board.”
Sarri would not be drawn on whether he thought Morata’s offside effort, which appeared to be a marginal call, should have stood, but did say he expects Giroud to return to training in 10 days.
The Blues boss, though, was frustrated not to have the option of more firepower against Saints.
“I think it’s better than what I thought after the Crystal Palace match,” Sarri said of Giroud.
“The doctor told me that in 10 days he will be able to train. The problem is this moment of course. Today was really important to try to change the match. It was impossible.”
Pedro and Callum Hudson-Odoi are already injured and Willian came off in the first half as a precaution.
Cesc Fabregas was the only other option to try to unlock the Saints defence in the second half.
“At the moment we’re in trouble with the offensive players,” Sarri added.
Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl also intends to delve into the transfer market.
He said: “We have to do something, I think. I have a very good view on our players, what I can expect from them and what I don’t see. We need to get some new players in that’s for sure.”
Gunn came in as one of eight changes following the loss to Manchester City and performed well.
“He did an amazing job today,” Hasenhuttl added. “He’s a very talented goalkeeper. I wanted to give him two games.
“This is the first, and then against Derby County in the FA Cup.”
Gunn has not definitely displaced Alex McCarthy as first choice, though.
“We have other problems at the moment,” the Saints boss added.
Striker Danny Ings was taken off at half-time as a precaution due to hamstring tightness.