Maurizio Sarri has not always seen his side cope well in adversity this season, but tonight he did as the Blues endured difficult spells to emerge victorious against Slavia Prague.
It was not only the 1-0 scoreline that pleased the boss as he assessed the first leg of this Europa League quarter-final; it was also the manner with which his players rode out Slavia storms to pick up a third consecutive clean sheet.
‘I’m really happy with the result, and also with the performance,’ Sarri said.
‘In this moment we are able to suffer, and in the past we were not able to suffer in the difficult moments of a match.
‘In the past when we were in trouble, we immediately conceded a goal. Now we are able to stay in trouble to fight and to suffer without conceding anything.’
Sarri acknowledged Slavia were threatening and will be again in London next week
‘We knew very well to play here is very difficult. The opponents are very physical, very aggressive, so we knew we had to face difficulties during the match. We were able to face them well, then in the second half we were able to play better.
‘Now we need to think the second leg will be difficult. These opponents are also very dangerous away, like against Genk [where they won 4-1]. We need to be careful.’
Sarri said he would have preferred it if Eden Hazard hadn’t come on tonight
‘At the beginning of the match I wanted him on the bench, because I thought probably the match would be very difficult and probably I would need to use him. But if we were 1-0 up at the end of the first half I wouldn’t have used him.’
Callum Hudson-Odoi was not in the matchday squad and Sarri said he hasn’t decided if he will start at Anfield on Sunday
‘In my opinion he needed to rest. In this match he was out. Emerson was also out. Of course he is in my mind for the next match, but I have to see the last two training sessions.’
Tickets for next week's second leg are sold out in non-hospitality areas of the ground but some remain for our next home league game, against Burnley...