Maurizio Sarri has highlighted the importance of approaching tomorrow’s game against Tottenham Hotspur in the right manner and given his thoughts on the form of Callum Hudson-Odoi and Alvaro Morata...
The Italian spoke to the media ahead of tomorrow’s Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, which takes place at Wembley, and as well as the match itself, Sarri discussed the recent improvements in Hudson-Odoi’s game and the potential significance of Morata’s brace at the weekend.
Sarri is hoping there will be no repeat of our performance when we faced Tottenham at Wembley in November, when we fell 2-0 down after just 16 minutes and eventually lost the game 3-1.
He was asked if any lessons had been learnt from that particular evening.
‘First of all that we need to approach the match in another way because we lost that match in the first 15 minutes,’ he responded.
‘They were more aggressive and determined than us so now we know if the approach is the same there is no solution for us. I want to speak before about this because otherwise it’s useless speaking about tactics. We can speak about tactics only if we have the same level of determination and application. We also have to change our tactics I think.
‘They played with offensive midfielders behind two strikers so in that match so we needed to play more outside than inside, the spaces were outside but we understood that too late in the match.’
One player hoping to feature for Chelsea tomorrow is 18-year-old attacker Hudson-Odoi, who produced an impressive display against Nottingham Forest on Saturday, providing the assists for both of Morata’s goals.
Sarri indicated he would have no concerns about giving the youngster another opportunity against strong opposition.
‘I think so, he’s ready,’ said Sarri. ‘Of course we have very important players in the same position, so do you want Willian or Pedro on the bench? I can play with only two wingers, three is difficult.
‘But I think now he is ready. He can play but of course sometimes he will be on the bench, like Willian or Pedro, but now I can start to consider him at the same level.
‘I know for me he is a very important player, he‘s young and now he’s improving, especially in the defensive phase. I think he played really well in the last match. He was in trouble in the game at Watford but only because he had a problem in his hamstring. I’m really very happy with him, I don’t know the situation with the club but for me he’s an important player.’
Sarri believes the best long-term option for Hudson-Odoi right now is to remain at Stamford Bridge.
‘I don’t think so because he’s an English player, he’s very young, he has the future and I think he has a very great future here, with the national team and Chelsea,’ he replied, when asked if the player would benefit from moving abroad.
‘To stay here is better for him. I want to speak to him only about the pitch, about movements and the defensive phase. I’m very happy because he’s improved in the defensive phase in a very important way in the last month.
‘First of all I want good players. But we are lucky because our Academy is very good. It’s important because if you have five or six players from the academy you can have soul, more than when you have 25 foreign players.’
Morata’s two well-taken goals at the weekend will have done his confidence no harm at all, and Sarri was asked about the striker’s lack of a celebration after scoring.
‘It’s more important to score than to celebrate,’ he said. ‘He scored two goals in the last match, in the season he has nine.
‘In his best season at Real Madrid he scored 20 goals, so if he has a very good second part of the season he will try to reach his best.’
Sarri also explained why Gary Cahill wasn’t part of the matchday squad on Saturday.
‘Not at the moment because I want to understand the situation, if he wants to go or not, so at the moment his mind is not completely involved in our situation so we need to wait,’ said Sarri. ‘With Cahill the situation is different because we have Ampadu, so we don’t need a replacement.’