Former Chelsea defender Frank Sinclair believes manager Maurizio Sarri’s future should not depend on winning the Europa League.
Sarri’s future at Chelsea remains unclear ahead of Wednesday’s final against Arsenal in Baku.
The 60-year-old says he will speak to the Chelsea hierarchy after the game to find out “if they are happy with me or not”, but Sinclair is in no doubt that the Italian has done a good job at Stamford Bridge.
“When you look at Sarri’s remit this season, I think initially it would have been finish in a Champions League spot and then can you win some trophies,” Sinclair, who represented the club between 1990 and 1998, told Press Association Sport.
“That’s what Chelsea have been about the last 20 years or so, winning trophies.
“If Sarri finishes with a win in the Europa League on top of getting a Champions League spot, I don’t think he’s had a bad season.
“He’s made mistakes along the way, which he’d probably admit to himself, but generally I feel he should stay and carry on with the job.
“He’s been in the country a full season now and I think he would have learned a lot from it.”
Sarri started his Chelsea reign with an unbeaten 18-game run in all competitions before a dramatic loss of form, including 4-0 and 6-0 thrashings to Bournemouth and Manchester City, saw them slip down the Premier League table.
Chelsea, however, recovered to finish third, albeit 26 points behind champions City, and qualify for next season’s Champions League.
But Sinclair fears Chelsea will cede further ground to City and Liverpool should they lose their fight against FIFA’s two-window transfer embargo.
Chelsea have been punished by FIFA for signing underage overseas players, but the Blues will now take their case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
“I don’t think we’re going to be as strong next season as we were this year,” Sinclair said.
“Potentially, Chelsea might have a dip for 18 months while we see out this ban.
“The transfer embargo might work in the favour of the youngsters at the club, and Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount and Reece James have all done brilliantly out on loan in the Championship this season.
“But the step from doing well in the Championship to playing for a top-six team is a big ask for guys who are 18, 19 or 20.
“Add that to the real worry that Eden Hazard will leave this summer and it’s going to be a tough job for whoever is the manager next season.”