Ahead of tomorrow’s 2nd leg against Dynamo Kiev in the UEFA Europa League Round of 16, Maurizio Sarri and Willian met with the media.

Here is what both had to say…


On Dynamo Kiev –

“I think that mentally it is a very difficult match because we can undervalue the match and opponents, I know they are really dangerous. I saw their other matches in the Europa League. They played good football and a good match vs Olympiakos.”

On mentality warning for tomorrow’s game –

“It is a dangerous match for us, we need to go into the match with the target to win and not just qualify, or it can be dangerous. We want to win and qualify as a consequence.”

On keeping his job at the end of season –

“I don’t know, I don’t mind. For me, it is important tomorrow in the Europa League and in Liverpool against Everton. Next season is too far, I am focused on these two matches. Then we have the international break.”

On goals for the rest of the season –

“We need only to be focused on our matches, those next two and in my opinion it is very important, we want to be in the PL top four and in the Europa League final.”

On Callum Hudson-Odoi –

“Why not ask about Ampadu? Then what’s the difference, I have a lot of players of course. I know very well that for you Odoi is the best, but for me I see them all at the same level. Odoi did well in the last period, he will be in the 18, maybe on pitch.”

On Hudson-Odoi (cont.) –

“I want to send to my team that this match is very important, I don’t want to make a mistake in this one. As you know, in the last match Odoi, came on first, so Odoi is in my mind for every match.”

On Gonzalo Higuaín not travelling –

“He had a fever after the match in the Premier League, for two days. So yesterday evening, we with the doctor decided to leave him at home to recover for the next match.”

On the rumours regarding Zinedine Zidane returning Real Madrid and what this means for the future of Eden Hazard –

“You have to ask to Hazard, I think. I don’t know at the moment. I didn’t speak with Eden about Zidane. I am not worried because you know my opinion. I want only in my team players who want to play for Chelsea, so I can’t be worried.”

On the condition of the pitch –

“It is a disaster. The pitch is not good. I think that it is dangerous, really dangerous, it is really difficult to play good football here.”


On the condition of the pitch (cont.) –

“We have to accept this situation and play on this pitch. There isn’t another solution. I can’t understand why UEFA Isn’t giving attention to everything. Especially to the players list, you have to present the players list early and then play on such a bad pitch.”


On the condition of the pitch –

“The pitch is not the best, but we don’t have to think about that. We have to go there and to try to win this game. The pitch will be bad for both teams. We know that but we have to do our job. It will be difficult to play our football, but we will do our best.”

On worries about injuries on pitch –

“We have to take care of ourselves tomorrow. Sometimes it is not possible, it happens and you get injuries. We just want to go there, play well and win this game.”

On avoiding areas of the pitch –

“The pitch is not the best, we have played in pitches before that weren’t the best. We have to adapt. We did training today [on the pitch], training was good.”

On the possibility of a slip up –

“We know how different the game will be tomorrow from the first leg, they have good players and a good team. If we are not 100% concentrated tomorrow, we will be in trouble. We have to play with the same mentality from the first leg.”

On boos directed at Jorginho –

“I think this is unfair from them, and of course, I don’t want to talk about this. When they do that I don’t feel good on the pitch. When players are not in a good moment and don’t play well, we need fans. Jorginho is a quality player.”

On the constant rumours surrounding Eden Hazard –

“It is a difficult question. I hope he stays with us. In football, you never know what can happen. Of course, Eden is a fantastic player and one of the best players in the world. He is my friend. He is one of the best I have played with.”

On whether if Hazard is distracted by the Real Madrid rumours –

“No doubt, he is focused here. Of course he wants to play and help us win something this season. He has never spoken to us about Real Madrid or stuff around this. He just wants to continue to play for us.”

When asked on Sarri chasing the media away from the pitch (Sarri shouted at and chased away photographers and cameras away who got too close to the open training session) –

“I have never seen that before, my first time.”

And that’s the end of the Press Conference. The comments regarding the state of the playing pitch give potential cause for concern, but the rest of the conference seemed like a typical conference in my opinion.

Let’s hope for no injuries tomorrow and easy passage to the Quarter-Finals.

Terry Sazio