Maurizio Sarri reflected on a place in the Europa League semi-finals for his team but admitted there remains room for improvement, particularly in the way they restart matches after the half-time interval.
The Blues started brilliantly at Stamford Bridge, racing into a 3-0 lead inside 17 minutes, and led 4-1 at the break before conceding twice early in the second period. However, a 5-3 aggregate victory was eventually secured, setting up a meeting with Eintracht Frankfurt in the last four.
‘We did very well in the first half and of course we are really happy to reach a European semi-final because we know that is not easy,' said the boss in his post-match press conference. 'To reach the final would be great for us but we need to study Eintracht Frankfurt very carefully now because they are a great team with a wonderful striker in Luka Jovic.’
Sarri was asked to expand on his side’s difficulties at the start of the second half.
‘It’s a problem we have had for the last two months where we start the second half badly. We need a solution to solve this because in the last 10 matches it has been the same. Maybe at the end of the first half we thought we had qualified already but against this opponent that wasn’t true because they are the most physical team I have seen in my career.
‘They have physical numbers I’ve never seen before so it was clear the second half would be difficult for us but of course we did something wrong in the first 15 minutes.’
The boss went on to explain what was said in the dressing room at the break.
‘I said the target was to start with the same application and attention as the first half but we didn’t do it – we are not able to restart the game immediately. I don’t know why that is. It’s not easy to understand otherwise we could solve the problem quickly.’