Gianfranco Zola explained Maurizio Sarri’s frustration at the end of the Burnley game, as well as assessing how we dropped two points at Stamford Bridge and the injuries to Callum Hudson-Odoi and N’Golo Kante.
A frantic first 25 minutes saw the two sides share four goals, with the Blues looking likely to add to our tally having gained control of the game.
Strikes from Kante and Gonzalo Higuain had cancelled out Jeff Hendrick’s opener before Ashley Barnes levelled from close range.
Chances for Higuain and Cesar Azpilicueta followed in the second half but we were unable to break the Clarets down and capitalise on defeats for each of our top-four rivals over the weekend, with two injuries to contend with added into the mix.
Sarri was sent from the touchline in injury-time and did not speak to the media afterwards.
Zola was asked why it was him speaking to the press
‘Maurizio is very frustrated so would prefer not to come over here,’ Zola said. ‘He is frustrated about the game, because he’s been sent off, I think he’s been offended as well and didn’t think it was the right thing to do.
‘I think he’s been told something from their bench, don’t ask me exactly what, I don’t want to go down that line. We will see what we can do about it.
‘We understand it’s a football game and you say words because of the adrenalin but he wasn’t particularly happy about it.
‘Maurizio has been sent off while he was trying to help Kevin (Friend, the referee), to tell our players to get into position. Kevin misinterpreted that and sent him off so he is very unhappy about it.’
Was it an opportunity missed with rivals dropping points over the weekend?
‘We still have gained a point on other teams and won’t give up until the end. We tried everything to win the game. We were frustrated in the second half but we didn’t play enough and they were wasting time too much. That’s what frustrated us. We tried everything we could and that’s the reason we’re very unhappy.
‘We should have done more in their box, be more effective, more precise, but the desire to win was there until the end. Especially in the first half, there was a lot of quality. To break down a team like Burnley defending their last 20 metres is not easy.’
Zola was asked about injuries, first to Callum Hudson-Odoi and then N’Golo Kante
‘It’s not an easy one. I think it’s a serious injury, on his (Callum’s) Achilles tendon. I cannot tell you the full extent of his injury. I think he will have to have an examination but it’s not looking good.
‘N’Golo was taken down and he fell on the foot of a player, so he had a contusion in his ribs. He couldn’t breathe properly, but he will be alright.’