Ahead of tomorrow’s 1st leg against Slavia Prague in the UEFA Europa League Quarter-Final, Maurizio Sarri and Andreas Christensen met with the media.

Here is what both had to say…


On a stand being closed for tomorrow’s game –

“I don’t know and I don’t know the reason. I didn’t know [about it] but I think it is not important. The match is on the pitch, of course. We need to be careful because, in my opinion, this is a very dangerous match.”

Thoughts on Slavia Prague –

“They scored six goals vs Sevilla, they are really very dangerous. They are a fast team. We need to be really compact and defend well. Especially on crosses, they attack the box with 5-6 players, they are good on the counter-attack, it is not easy for us.”

On tomorrow’s transfer ban appeal –

“I don’t want to think about this. We are here for the Europa League, it is an important target for me and my players.”

On Danny Drinkwater’s drink-drive charge –

“I cannot say anything about this situation, it is a legal matter, so I can’t say anything.”

On Danny Drinkwater –

“It may be wrong, but it is my opinion and, to me, my opinion is important.”

On Danny Drinkwater never playing for him –

“As he knows very well, he has never played because in my opinion he is not suitable to my system and my way of playing. I told him everything in August, but he decided to remain.”

On N’Golo Kanté’s role in the team –

“Kante is wonderful for something different but not for playing at one-touch.”

On changing 5-6 players from the starting lineup against West Ham –

“I don’t know, yesterday he (kante) had only recovery in the gym so I didn’t see him. Today, he was a little bit tired, like the other players who played 90 mins.I will wait until tomorrow’s session then decide. We will play in three days vs Liverpool.”

On Hazard needing a ‘bigger club’ –

“It is very difficult to say, Eden is one of the best, it is difficult to say he is the best. In my opinion, our dream must be to become the best team in Europe and not to change team.”

Back to Danny Drinkwater –

“I spoke to him in August when the market was open. I told him to look for something different because in my opinion he wouldn’t play. I told him my reasons. He decided to stay at Chelsea.”

On his relationship with Drinkwater –

“He is a good boy, he is a good player. He can play in a 4-4-2 or 4-2-3-1 very well. I have a good relationship with him.”

On how he manages Drinkwater –

“Danny is always with us, only sometimes, if we are away. Maybe once or twice a month. Danny trains with the group or us.”

On Drinkwater (cont.) –

“I can’t do anything. A player just wants to play, so I can’t do anything. I can only have a good relationship. At the moment, I can’t satisfy him as a player. It is difficult, but he knew all.” Adds, he didn’t speak with him this week.”


On his birthday –

“I woke up a bit earlier to have a big breakfast, that’s it really, my birthday treat was a full English breakfast. I had a couple of friends over and opened gifts.”

On the Europa League –

“I have enjoyed playing in it. We have come quite far, right now we don’t prioritise either the Premier League or Europa League. We take it game by game.”

On not playing much in the league –

“The cup games and Europa League have been important to get me up to speed. Obviously, I want to play every game. It has taken the frustration out of it a little bit.”

On his knowledge of Slavia Prague –

“I am the wrong person to ask about that. I don’t watch a lot of football.”

On youth players getting more chances –

“I have always seen myself as a Chelsea product. There’s been a couple now… me, Callum and Ruben. I have played with Ruben since 16. I see myself as a Chelsea player.”

On being a youth product wanting games –

“It makes me more hungry but we want to play.”

On rumours he might leave –

“It is always difficult when I speak in Danish and it gets mistranslated. I haven’t had a conversation with the club but I want to stay here.”

On improvements Sarri says he needs to make –

“It is hard to get into the team, as it should be, the competition is healthy. The Europa League and cup games have helped me a lot. His message is keep going and keep playing.”

And that’s the end of the Press Conference. Comments from Sarri on Kante and Christensen’s words on youth were intriguing to hear.

Let’s hope for no injuries tomorrow and a comfortable lead going into the second leg next week.

Terry Sazio