Maurizio Sarri came down on the side of under-fire midfielder Jorginho when Chelsea fans booed the midfielder before and during their Europa League tie with Malmo.
Chelsea eased through as they secured a 5-1 aggregate win to make it into the last 16.
But the atmosphere at Stamford Bridge is still uneasy as supporters make their feelings about the club’s slide clear.
Jorginho’s named was booed by a section of the crowd when the substitute’s name was read out before the game.
The 27-year-old – a £57 million arrival – came on 15 minutes from the end and some supporters booed as he took to the field.
Jorginho has been below par since signing and Sarri says the player is better than they think he is.
“I think that in the first 30 minutes we understood why Jorginho is very important for our team,” Sarri said. “We were in trouble to exit from our half with the pressing.
“With Jorginho, it is easier, I think. I would hope that our fans would be able to understand that Jorginho for us is really a very important player.”
“I think that we played the first 30 minutes without confidence – we were nervous.
“We were unable to move the ball very fast and we were in trouble with their pressing.
“Then we were a little bit better in the last 15 minutes of the first half and after the first goal we did very well. We started to move the ball very fast with confidence.
“But it wasn’t easy for us to play this match, of course, so I can understand our players in the first 30 minutes.”
Chelsea fans also made their feelings known, singing that they want Callum Hudson-Odoi to stay as the attacker got a rare start.
The Blues discover their last 16 fate on Friday as the draw for the next round is made.