Analysis

Chelsea stars explain what made a difference during the Europa League semi and make a wish for the fans

Cesar Azpilicueta, the captain for Chelsea’s first leg 1-1 draw in Germany in our Europa League semi-final on Thursday night, highlighted after the game one difference between the early part of the performance, during which we went a goal down to Eintracht Frankfurt, and later in the game when his side dominated.

The Bundesliga outfit’s Luka Jovic headed the hosts in front midway through the first half before Pedro levelled matters just before half-time to leave the tie finely poised ahead of next week’s second leg at Stamford Bridge. The Blues managing to get Jorginho on the ball more was one of the key factors.

‘Jorginho is very important in the way we play,’ pointed out Azpilicueta. ‘We need him to be in control of the game, to touch the ball and to pass forward and as soon as we found him with more space, we were able to find more space for Ruben and for N’Golo and we could create chances when we had more spaces.’
 

One of those players ahead in midfield who had an outstanding game, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, agreed:
‘Jorginho was really good in the second half,’ he said, ‘dictating the play and when he sucks players in, that gives me and N’Golo the space to turn and run at the defence and get a pass off so it really helped in the second half, Jorginho getting on the ball.

‘In the second half we had most of the possession and were in control of the game. Eintracht Frankfurt had a few counter-attacks that we had to address on the pitch but in the second half we had most of the ball and were a threat.’
 

‘We were 1-0 down so we were a bit in trouble’ acknowledged Azpilicueta when he reviewed the game as a whole. ‘The last 15 minutes of the first half we dominated and created chances and we scored the goal just before half-time and in the second half we had more chances than them.

‘We knew that we did not start very well, we could not cope with the pressure, and as a consequence we conceded the goal. So we went to score a goal and we got it just before half-time and then the ambition of the team was to win the game in the second half.

‘We have scored an away goal, which is always important but this was only the first step to get a good result and everything is going to be decided on Thursday at Stamford Bridge.

‘Eintracht Frankfurt are a dangerous team, they play with a lot of intensity. It is the last step before the final so the job we began in September, we have to finish it all together on Thursday so hopefully we can bring our fans to Baku.’

Read: Sarri reflects on mixed performance

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