2 May 2019

Sarri: We Deserved To Win  (Sky Sports)

PedroMaurizio Sarri says Chelsea "deserved to win" their Europa League semi-final first leg against Eintracht Frankfurt and explained why he benched Eden Hazard.

Pedro scored a crucial away goal for Chelsea as they drew 1-1 with the Bundesliga side on Thursday, with the Spaniard cancelling out Luka Jovic's 23rd minute header.

It sets the tie up wonderfully for the second leg at Stamford Bridge next week, but Sarri believes his side should be taking a bigger advantage into the game.

He said: "We made a mistake in the first 20 minutes because my feeling from the bench was that we were playing to manage the result for a 0-0, but we are not able to do it for [our] characteristics.

"Then we started to play after 25 minutes and we played very well until the 85th minute and in my opinion, we deserved to win for the number of good opportunities. For 70 minutes, we were in full control of the match.

"But they are very dangerous because in counter-attacks, if you give them spaces, they are very dangerous. One away is not so bad, they are very dangerous at home but unfortunately, they are very dangerous away. I have seen all the matches in the Europa League on Eintracht and they are also very dangerous away.

"So it depends on the second leg, we have to play at Stamford Bridge, we want the final but we know very well that we have to play a very good match in the next week."

It was somewhat of a surprise to see Hazard's name among the substitutes, although he has started on the bench in seven of the nine Europa League games in which he has been in squad this season.

Speaking about the decision, Sarri added: "Eden was on the bench because in the last period, he played 10 matches in a row. This match was number 59 [for Chelsea] I think, and Hazard also played eight matches with the national team.

"For a player, it is impossible to play 70 to 75 matches in a season and so sometimes, Hazard, like all the other players, needs to rest or not to rest, but to not play for 90 minutes.

"This is the first reason, the second is that Eden usually is able to change the match from the bench and so for me, it was better to start with Willian and then to try in the last 30 to 35 minutes with Eden."

Eintracht Frankfurt manager Adi Hutter had a differing view from Sarri and believes a draw was deserved with the tie remaining open for the trip to Stamford Bridge.

He said: "It was a good result that we achieved against a top class team. We saw that, especially in the second half. The result leaves it open for the second half. We are confident that we can have a good second leg.

"It was a pity that they scored an equaliser right before half-time. We had one or two chances that we created. I think the draw is deserved.

"Everything is possible [for the second leg]. The fact that we are at Stamford Bridge, we have to be brave and show a top class performance. I am happy about the match today and everything that it means for the second leg."

The Soccerlinks Hit List