Maurizio Sarri assessed how Jorginho and Kepa Arrizabalaga fared in our win at Craven Cottage today, and the boss also explained why our 2-1 victory over Fulham ended up being such a tough one.
In an entertaining first half, Gonzalo Higuain and Jorginho netted excellent goals for the Blues either side of Calum Chambers’ equaliser for Fulham. We might have extended our lead but did not do so and it was our local rivals who finished the stronger on a wet and windy afternoon in the west of the capital.
Happily we held on to our lead to secure back-to-back successes in the Premier League for the first time in 2019, and in the process cut the gap to the top four to two points. Sarri started by assessing our latest win...
‘We played very well for 60 minutes,’ the boss said.
‘We could have killed the match with a third goal. We didn’t kill the match and then in the last 20, 25 minutes we were very tired, physically but also mentally.
‘In seven days we played 120 minutes in a difficult match against City, we played 90 very expensive minutes against Tottenham, and today a very important derby against a team with a new coach. It was a very difficult match.
‘So very good for 60 minutes, then very tired, but it was a normal reaction to our seven days.’
Five points now separate four teams in the race for a Champions League spot, but we have a game in hand on Tottenham, Man Utd and Arsenal
‘We had a great opportunity because we were five points from the top four but with two matches [in hand]. Now it’s two points.
‘We are trying to involve Tottenham in the fight, and now I think they are involved. Better for four teams for two places than three for one.
‘We will have to fight until the last minute in the last match. But we are fighting and in the last four matches we did well. A minimum [level] of consistency has arrived, but we have to continue.’
Jorginho struck a superb winning goal
‘I’m very happy for him. He scored, but my opinion of Jorginho is the same. He is a great player, one of the best in Europe in that position. For him it’s not easy the first season in a new team. Today he was very tired in the last part of the match. We were lucky Kovacic entered very well on the pitch.
‘In that position we had some problems. We are trying during training with Kovacic and his answer was very good.’
Sarri was also asked how he thought Kepa played today
‘Very well. It was a normal decision [to play him]. Kepa made a big mistake, he paid with the club and the team, and now the situation is closed.
‘Kepa is a man. He understood. His behaviour this week was very good. His reaction today was very good. I know the man. He is very clever, with a very good mentality. He made a mistake on a misunderstanding, but now it’s enough.
‘Also now I know very well Caballero is a very important goalkeeper and a very important man for our group and our dressing room. I have to find space also for him.’