Conference Call: First target achieved

As he reflected on our 1-0 win over BATE Borisov, a result which secured our place in the last 32 of the Europa League, Maurizio Sarri said the most pleasing aspect of the night was the result.

Olivier Giroud’s first goal of the season, which arrived early in the second half, proved decisive as the Blues maintained our 100 per cent record in the Europa League, as well as our unbeaten start to the season.

‘The result,’ responded Sarri, when asked what pleased him most about our display. ‘I think we didn’t play very well, I didn’t like the first half because we moved the ball only horizontally and slowly, so it was hard to be dangerous. It was better in the first 20 minutes of the second half but we didn’t manage the last 15 minutes well. The best thing about this evening was the result.

‘It wasn’t easy to play a good game here, it was all the conditions to play badly, but I think we could have done better.’

Sarri spoke about the significance of Giroud’s goal for the striker

‘I’m pleased for him. He’s a very important player for us, he’s very useful for the team but I know very well that strikers want to score, and so for his confidence it’s very important. But I don’t want him to be worried about scoring because for us he’s very important.’

Tonight’s result means we are through to the next round with two matches to spare

‘I think the first target in this competition was to qualify and now the second target is to win our group so I think we need one more point. It’s very important because then we can talk again about this competition in February, when we will have another target.’

Sarri had a word of praise for BATE, who struck the woodwork three times

‘I can say they played very well. They defended well in the first half, also in the first part of the second, and they attacked well in the last 10 minutes. At the end they were unlucky and they could have drawn the match. They played very well, for sure better than at Stamford Bridge.’