We deserve a trophy, says Chelsea boss Sarri


Maurizio Sarri claimed Chelsea deserve to finish the season with a trophy after they fought back against Eintracht Frankfurt to keep their Europa League hopes alive.

Pedro’s first-half equaliser spared Sarri’s blushes following the Italians gamble to start with talisman Eden Hazard on the bench in last night’s semi-final first leg in Germany.

Chelsea will now start next week’s Stamford Bridge second leg as favourites to reach the final.

And Sarri, who is also chasing a top-four finish, praised his side for bouncing back from their mid-season wobble, which included a Carabao Cup defeat to Manchester City, to end the campaign with plenty to play for.

Sarri said: “I want to reach the final against any team, Arsenal or Valencia. It’s exactly the same for me, who we play. I don’t want to [just] play the final. I want to win it. Three months ago, we were in trouble in a very difficult championship and it’s not easy to react, but we were able to react. Now, in the last 15 days of the season, we are fighting for the top four and the final in the Europa League, so we deserve a trophy.”

Sarri came under fire for resting Hazard on such a hugely important occasion but defended his decision, explaining the Belgian star had played 10 games in a row and was capable of changing the game from the bench. And Sarri insisted there was no negative reaction from Hazard, who came on after an hour, when he was told in the pre-match meeting that he was starting on the bench.

Sarri revealed: “He was in the dressing room joking as usual, as normal. But he knows the truth very well. He knows very well that sometimes he has to rest. For a player that has to play 70 matches in a season, it’s normal. A normal reaction.”

Frankfurt’s main dangerman Luka Jovic lived up to his pre-match billing by heading the Bundesliga high fliers into a 23rd-minute lead.

Pedro equalised on the stroke of half-time but Chelsea spurned a number of chances to build up a cushion to take into the second leg.

Sarri said: “We deserved to win. 1-1 is not so bad away. They are very dangerous at home, but they are really very dangerous away. I’ve seen Eintracht’s games in the Europa League, and they are dangerous. We want to go to the final, but we know very well we’ll have to play a very good match next week.”


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