Having collapsed in their last away game at Bournemouth , falling to a 4-0 defeat, the Blues found themselves four down just 25 minutes in at the Etihad, before eventually falling to a 6-0 reverse.
The result – and Sarri’s subsequent post-match comments – appear to have pushed the under-fire boss closer to the exit.
Chelsea have failed to score in four away games in 2018, and have fallen to sixth in the Premier League.
Sarri admitted post-game that he is under pressure, with ‘Sarriball’ having failed to really take hold at the west London club.
The ex-Napoli boss was hired last summer not just to challenge for trophies – like predecessor Antonio Conte – but also to oversee a change in style, with owner Roman Abramovich craving more expansive, attacking play from his side.
And now former Manchester Uniteddefender Neville – working for Sky Sports at the game – says that if that really is what Abramovich desires, then he needs to back his current manager.
“If the ownership of the club really do want a higher quality of football then they’re going to have to live through the change.
“Now’s not the time to go weak on that. Now what we’ll see in the next 24 to48 hours whether Chelsea have the belief that they do want to follow through with it.
“In the past I agree, they’ve changed [Andre] Villas-Boas, they’ve changed [Luiz Felipe] Scolari. Are they going to stick with Sarri?
“If they really want this type of football in the long term they’re going to have to maintain a position of the club and live through the pain and change.”
Jose Mourinho won three Premier League titles over his two spells at the club, but it was his style of football that saw him dismissed in 2007.
Antonio Conte’s preference for three-at-the-back and counter-attacking also played a part in his demise, leading to Sarri’s arrival.
His Napoli side were widely-hailed as being one of the most entertaining in Europe during recent seasons, and their Serie A challenge to Juventuslast season was a big reason for Abramovich believing that he was the right choice last summer.
Now Neville feels that the Russian must stick rather than twist, if he really does want the playing style to change.
“It’s never been what they’ve done before but it’s how intent are they on seeing that style change,” added Neville.
“If they’re intent on that style of football changing, they’re going to have to maintain a manager and not go back to something that’s happened before.
“You talk about Roman Abramovich being motivated by Pep Guardiola’s style of play, which is 75 to 80 per cent possession. Chelsea have never been like that.”