Conference Call: High standards and lowering levels

Maurizio Sarri reported the knock Eden Hazard picked up late on today was not serious and the boss complimented our Belgian star for his performance up front, while also acknowledging he still has room for improvement.

Hazard set up Pedro’s opener and then scored the second in a deserved victory at Brighton, which ended in a closer game than it looked like it would for much of the afternoon after Solly March pulled a goal back.

But we held on for an important three points, especially with top-four rivals Arsenal losing along the coast at Southampton, and Sarri spoke afterwards about the collective performance as well as his brilliant no.10’s…

‘We could have won better because we played very well for 60 minutes,’ the boss said.

‘We conceded a goal in a moment in which we were in full control of the match. My mind was clear in that moment that we had to suffer in the last five minutes with long balls into our box. We are not a physical team.

‘With the substitutions I tried to have more physical impact in the last five minutes, but it was clear it was really very difficult in the last five minutes. But we could have won better.’

Hazard limped off late on and Sarri gave an update on his condition

‘Eden is okay. It’s only a knock. I spoke with the doctor and he told me it’s not a big problem. Maybe one or two days to rest.’

The boss then turned his attention to Hazard's showing at the tip of our attack

‘For us he could be very important in this position. He is able to come deep and play with his team-mates. He is able to create spaces. Now in that position he has to improve in attacking the box.’

Sarri assessed how his team are sometimes their own worst enemy

‘When we have the feeling of being in full control of the match, we are dangerous to ourselves. We know that we suddenly lowered the level of application and attention.

‘Their goal was the first situation in our box for 30 minutes. We were a bit unlucky, but the feeling when we have confidence and are sure we are in control of the match, is that we are dangerous to ourselves.’

Sarri considered whether Marcos Alonso was lucky to escape with a yellow card when he brought down March 

'I don’t know because the situation was on the other part of the pitch, 60 metres from my bench. I want to see the action again because I’m not sure. It wouldn’t have made a big difference because there were only two minutes left: maybe we would have finished the match with Giroud as a centre-back!'

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