Ahead of tomorrow’s 1st leg against Eintracht Frankfurt in the UEFA Europa League Semi-Final, Maurizio Sarri and César Azpilicueta met with the media.

Here is what both had to say…


Photo Source – @ChelseaFC

On Gary Cahill –

“Cahill is out, it is a medical problem to his tendon. Achilles tendon. He is out, he’s been out for about five days. I want to recover him in one week, I don’t know at the moment. I have to speak to the doctor.”

On issues with lack of centre-backs –

“We are in trouble with the centre backs. In the last two training sessions we played with Azpilicueta as a centre back, just in case, I think he is the only other one who can play there.”

On injuries –

“In the past we were lucky with injuries, now not. Are you worried? Am I? A little. Rudiger is out for three months.”

On Antonio Rüdiger –

“He has to only think to return better than before. When you have a serious injury, it is difficult to stay the same, you can be better or worse. Rudiger is very strong so I think he will return stronger.”

On Willian –

“He is okay, it was only a knock. Today he trained with the group. There are no other injuries problems, [apart from] of course Callum.”

On the Europa League –

“At the moment we need to get into the top-four of the PL, because we want to play in the Champions League. The Europa League is a very important trophy, but we want to play in the UCL.”


On delay of arriving in Germany –

“The flight for me is not important, the training was normal. It is a problem for you [the journalists] but not for us.” (Laughs)

On Rudiger’s injury –

“We try to arrive at the end of the season but the injury was there. He had a problem to his meniscus, so it was broken, we tried to get him through until the end of the season. Sometimes you can do it and play 1 month, but the situation was the same”

(Sarri confirms Rudiger has been playing with injury for a while and broke down against Manchester United. The plan was always for him to have surgery at the end of the season.)

On faith towards Andreas Christensen –

“Christensen is not a problem for us, the problem is the number at the moment.”

On Eintracht Frankfurt –

“I respect Eintracht very much, they are very dangerous. They are a dynamic team, they have great intensity, the have the same physical qualities as Slavia, but the quality is different. Especially in the attacking phase.”


Photo Source – @ChelseaFC

On Iker Casillas (who suffered a heart attack earlier today) –

“I want to wish him a good recovery. The news shocked us but it’s good to hear he’s doing well. He was my teammate for many years”

On being asked to play at centre-back once again if needed –

“You know me, I can adapt to different positions, I can enjoy where the manager thinks I am useful for the team. I am ready for it.”

On winning the Europa League this season –

“Here in Chelsea, every season we start and go for every trophy. Through the year you go out in some of them, we have arrived in the semi-final of the Europa League, it was a long way to go here.”

On already winning the Europa League (back in 2013) –

“It was my first trophy with Chelsea and the first trophy is something special, I have great memories from it. It is something different to the Premier League.”

On motivation versus Eintracht Frankfurt –

“It is our moment to step up and to try and win it for the second time in our history.”

On Frankfurt’s threat –

“Eintracht is a team that dominates its group stage. It has knocked out Shakhtar, Inter, Benfica. They play with high intensity and put a lot of bodies into the final third.”

On Rudiger’s injury –

“Antonio is a very important player for us. To miss any player at this stage is not the best news we could have. Antonio is a strong man, when we heard the news we sent him messages of a quick recovery.”

On the £20,000 fine handed to Cardiff City manager Neil Warnock –

“We will talk in private about this [sending him money]. I was there in the middle because I was the one who scored the goal. When I scored, I looked at the linesman. I thought I was on the edge.”

And that’s the end of the Press Conference. Some revealing comments made by Sarri on the lack of centre-backs that are currently at his disposal. Here’s hoping that Cahill and even Ethan Ampadu are back in contention as soon as possible.

Anyways – let’s hope for no more injuries tomorrow and a positive result to take back to Stamford Bridge next week.

Terry Sazio

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