Ahead of tomorrow’s 2nd leg against Slavia Prague in the UEFA Europa League Quarter-Final, Olivier Giroud and Gianfranco Zola met with the media.

(Maurizio Sarri was unable to attend due to a procedure)

Here is what both had to say…


Olivier Giroud has arrived to talk to the media. He says his good goal record in the Europa League this season is due to his game time in the competition.

He emphasises that the team is still determined to qualify for the Champions League via the Premier League route, as well as trying to win the Europa League. He thinks if we win our remaining PL games we can do that.

Olivier mentions that he is frustrated when he is not on the pitch –

“When you are a competitor, when you’ve been through difficulties all through your career, you need to keep that frustration inside you and transform it into positive energy on the pitch. I’m not happy to play the second role.”

– Olivier Giroud

Giroud admits to looking for greater involvement next season wherever that may be (confirming that it could be Chelsea) –

“Next year, I need to have more important role to play in the team. It is in their court. They must talk to me before the end of the season. The thing is, we are still waiting to find out whether the club will have the opportunity to buy players or not.”

– Olivier Giroud

Giroud says in the first match against Slavia Prague, Chelsea were impressed by our opponents. We know they are not going to give up tomorrow and we will have to be at 100 per cent.

He doesn’t want to have his option extended just to be a backup striker at Chelsea –

“With what I’ve achieved here, there is no reason they won’t give me one more year. But I need to be happy, also. I want to play.”

– Olivier Giroud

Giroud admitted to interest from foreign clubs (based in China and France) in signing him –

“I want to enjoy my football. It must be decided by the end of the season. Yes [I have received offers from other clubs] but I cannot tell you yet. I am focused on Chelsea.”

– Olivier Giroud


If there will be some changes tomorrow –

“We are very aware we are playing a good team and we have to play at our best.”

– Gianfranco Zola

On Rudiger’s knee injury –

“It doesn’t look as bad as we thought. He is a strong boy and should be back earlier. He has a strong possibility to return for Manchester United.”

– Gianfranco Zola

On missing Rudiger through injury –

“Rudiger is an important player. I saw him improving in many ways, the way he is on the ball and the way he is defending. We alternate the defenders many times, when Christensen plays with Luiz he has done well. He’ll be missed but the ones that are playing have done well.”

– Gianfranco Zola

If the Europa League is the best route into the UEFA Champions League next season –

“It’s another route, but we still have a chance in the league. We lost to Liverpool, but there are still games to play and we’ll play until the end. We don’t think about just the Europa League. We still have a good chance.”

– Gianfranco Zola

On the current transfer ban and maintaining focus on the football for the remainder of the season –

“There is the ban, I understand there are circumstances that are not easy but we need to maintain focus but this year I have heard a lot of times it is a bad season, but if we win the cup and finish fourth it could be a remarkable season.”

– Gianfranco Zola

On Eden Hazard being the best overseas player to play for Chelsea –

“At the very top. I appreciate him as a player and as a boy. I would love to have him for longer as the type of play we want to implement suits him. It is no coincidence he is having his best season. The way we play suits him.”

– Gianfranco Zola

On Gary Cahill –

“He is in the squad tomorrow. I don’t know if he will be on the bench, but it looks likely. He has been an exceptional professional. It has been a tough year for him, the manager came with different ideas and Rudiger and Luiz have done well together.

I can only speak well about him. He is always training and he has my respect.”

– Gianfranco Zola

And that’s the end of the Press Conference. Very intriguing comment made by Zola on wanting Hazard to stay for longer. An omission of him confirming that he’s definitely leaving?

Anyways – let’s hope for no injuries tomorrow and a stress-free passage into the Semi-Finals.

Terry Sazio

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