Match Preview

Sarri: Sensible decisions

Eden Hazard will benefit from featuring in tomorrow’s Europa League fixture against BATE Borisov, according to Maurizio Sarri, who also explained why Alvaro Morata and Cesc Fabregas have remained in the UK as he addressed the media in Belarus.

Hazard, who had missed the previous three matches, was introduced in the second half of Sunday’s 3-1 win over Crystal Palace, with the Belgian providing the assist for our second goal just a minute after coming on.

The attacker is part of a 19-man squad who have travelled to Belarus, and Sarri provided his reasons for including him in the group.

‘According to our doctor there is not any risk, otherwise he would have stayed at Cobham, of course,’ said Sarri, whose team will guarantee our progression to the next round with a victory tomorrow. ‘We felt that for him it’s better to play, not for 90 minutes, but to play after two weeks of not playing.

‘In the last match he played only for 30 minutes. The best way for him is that tomorrow he will play for 45 or 50 minutes.’

One player who hasn’t made the trip is Morata, scorer of a brace against Roy Hodgson’s side, with the striker having now netted four goals in as many Premier League matches.

The fact the Spaniard has been heavily involved of late played a big part in Sarri’s decision to leave him behind, and the Blues boss provided some insight into the type of training Morata will be doing at Cobham.

‘No, I think exactly the opposite,’ replied Sarri, when asked if Morata’s impressive form meant it would be wiser to continue to select him.

‘Morata stayed at Cobham just to rest and to have training because he played very often in the last period.

‘I think it’s better for him to stay fit, with two or three training sessions, than only with matches. It’s normal for a player to play three matches and then rest for one, otherwise we could have a squad with only 13 or 14 players.

‘Sometimes it’s better for the players to train rather than just play, to train on some particular physical qualities. If they only play they will lose that physical quality they need, and that’s been proved scientifically over a 21-day period.

‘Today he had intense aerobic training, with five-second, 10-second, 15-second and 20-second active recovery and passive recovery. We don’t use any weights, it’s all natural work that we do in the gym. Have you ever seen a player with a weight on the pitch?’

Marcos Alonso, David Luiz, Toni Rudiger and Victor Moses have also remained in the UK, and they have been joined by Fabregas, who was initially scheduled to be involved tomorrow.

‘The only problem is Cesc,’ said Sarri. ‘This morning he had a fever and has had to stay at Cobham, so we called N’Golo Kante.’