Chelsea center-back Antonio Rudiger wants the Blues to restore aggression to their game ahead of Premier League clash with Manchester City at Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
Maurizio Sarri recently hit out at his players publicly for their attitude and watched in despair as Chelsea ended January with a 4-0 loss to Bournemouth.
The club Italian coach suggested his players were weak, but Germany international thinks their biggest issue is a lack of toughness in their game.
Rudiger said via Metro: "We have been there when it mattered.
"We were the first team to beat Manchester City after all. We must be tougher.
"By now, we have a lot of possession, but we need to get something dirty back in our game.’ Sarri’s outburst stunned Chelsea fans and raised concerns about the Italian’s long-term future at the club.
Chelsea enjoyed a near-perfect start under Sarri and were
the first Premier League side to beat City in December. While there seems to be tension between Sarri and his players, Rudiger insists there is not a mentality problem in the squad.
"He’s a very emotional coach,’ Rudiger explained about Sarri.
"But you can’t put everything down to motivation. Our biggest shortcoming is that we lost consistency. We always want [it], but sometimes not a lot works out.
"We go blank a bit currently, but it’s no reason to talk everything down. I am not that kind of guy.
"For a long time, Chelsea had a defensive approach. And you can’t get used to something new overnight.’
Chelsea are in fourth place in the log table, with just a two-point gap between them and Manchester United in fifth and three ahead of London rival Arsenal