Maurizio Sarri said it was difficult for him to change the complexion of tonight’s game against Southampton due to the amount of attacking players currently out injured.
The Blues, who lost Willian to injury before the break, were held to a goalless draw in our opening game of 2019 as Southampton goalkeeper Angus Gunn performed well to keep us at bay, while Alvaro Morata had a second-half goal ruled out for offside.
‘I think we played a very good match for 80 metres of the pitch, then we were in trouble for the last 20 metres,’ explained Sarri, as he provided his assessment of the contest.
‘We created opportunities, of course not too many, but it’s not easy in this kind of match because they were very low in density and compact, so it wasn’t easy. If you are able to score the first goal you can find spaces so it’s easier.
‘We have to try to solve the problem of the last 15 and 20 metres. In the last few matches we were in control against every team but at the moment it’s not easy for us to score the first goal. The performance was good.’
Sarri was asked if he felt Morata’s goal should have stood
‘I don’t know, it was too far from my bench to have a clear opinion or idea about the situation. I saw two goals by Giroud in the last match and I don’t know if Olivier was offside or not, maybe yes, maybe not. It was hard to tell even from the replay and impossible at the ground. I have no idea about this goal.’
Sarri spoke about Willian’s injury and explained why it was difficult for him to make changes in the second half
‘I don’t think Willian’s injury is very serious. The report from the doctor is not serious for Pedro, I think in one week he will be able to train with his team-mates. This match was difficult for me because Pedro, Giroud and Hudson-Odoi were out, and then after 35 minutes Willian was out.
‘On the bench I only had one offensive player, Loftus-Cheek, but he is not 100 per cent, he has back trouble, so it was difficult to try and change the match in the last 30 minutes. I put Fabregas on the pitch but only because in that moment we weren’t moving the ball like in the first half, so I wanted another technical player to improve the way we were moving the ball. At the moment we are in trouble with the offensive players.’
Olivier Giroud limped off injured against Crystal Palace and missed tonight’s game, with Sarri providing an update on the Frenchman
'I think it’s better than what I thought after the Crystal Palace match. The doctor told me in 10 days he will be able to train. The problem is in this moment. Today was very important to try to change the match but it was impossible.'
Earlier today we announced a deal had been agreed with Borussia Dortmund for the transfer of Christian Pulisic, who will be loaned back to the German club for the remainder of the campaign. Sarri was asked if he would like to be able to call upon the services of Pulisic sooner, and whether or not he would think about recalling any of our loan players.
‘I don’t know. I’m not in charge of the market so it’s very difficult to speak about the market or the Pulisic deal. The board know my opinion. I think we need something different for characteristics.’