Chelsea vs Arsenal: Maurizio Sarri fears Gunners already hold Europa League final advantage in Baku
The Blues will travel to Boston after their final Premier League game against Leicester for a charity match
Maurizio Sarri fears Arsenal already hold an advantage over Chelsea for the Europa League final due to their friendly in Boston three days after their final Premier League game of the season against Leicester.
The Blues sealed their place in Baku by beating Eintracht Frankfurt on penalties and will travel to the United States next week for a charity match on May 15 against the New England Revolution.
Arsenal’s schedule is clear after facing Burnley on Sunday though, leaving Sarri concerned about his side’s physical condition ahead of the final.
“A problem? We go there for a good reason I think, so as a man I am very happy to go there,” Sarri remarked after a dramatic night at Stamford Bridge.
“But as a coach, of course, I am a little bit worried because I know very well that the team now needs rest. So it is not the best way to prepare the final, I think.
“I don’t know (if it is a disadvantage), Arsenal is not my problem. I have to look to my players, so I know very well that my players need to rest, and after four or five days they need to work for three or four days and then they need to prepare for the match. The match will be interesting and difficult.”
Sarri insists his preparation for Baku will be affected by the trip, as he will likely hand his side some time off upon their return before attention turns to the final.
“I think so, I think so,” Sarri admitted when asked whether his squad will rest after the match at Gillette Stadium. “I want to speak to the physical staff, to the doctor and then we need to prepare the program. I think that they need three or four days completely in rest.
“I am not worried about the physical side, I think it is more difficult to recover mentally. Because in a match like this one you spend, usually, a lot of energy and then of course you have to go down and then it is not easy to go up again.”
Sarri admits he is delighted to reach two finals this term, having lost to Manchester City in the Carabao Cup, but believes his side may need to be ”lucky” to prevail this time.
Should the Blues lift the trophy on May 29, Sarri concedes he would give their season 8/10, before attention turns to the transfer window.
While Chelsea attempt to overturn a transfer ban, Eden Hazard, with one year remaining, is edging towards Real Madrid, and The Independent understands terms are almost agreed between the Belgian and the Spanish giants.
Despite securing Champions League football next season, Sarri admits it may not be enough to convince Hazard to stay.
“I don’t know (if Champions League football is enough), I don’t know,” Sarri conceded. ”If Hazard is thinking that the history here is finished, then in his mind it is finished.
“I can try to speak to him but it is not easy. It’s not easy because of course I want Hazard, but I want Hazard with a very high level of motivation.
“I don’t know (if the club has to sell). As you know you have to ask the club because I am not in control of the market. I am not in charge of the renewal of the contract so I am not able to answer.
“I can only speak to the player but like a father, not like a manager. Also if I speak to him, I will not tell you anything. It’s a discussion between a father and a son.”