Analysis

Conference Call: Sarri says we can do it

Maurizio Sarri gives his verdict on the VAR decision in Chelsea’s game versus Tottenham and assesses both Callum Hudson-Odoi and prospects for the second leg…

In November at Wembley he was ruing his Chelsea team’s most disappointing performance after a defeat against Tottenham but a month-and-a-half on, Maurizio Sarri described our first-leg display in the Carabao Cup semi-final as the most important to date.

A penalty decision tinged with controversy gave Spurs captain Harry Kane the opportunity to decide Tuesday night’s game in his team’s favour but with another 90 minutes to play at Stamford Bridge two weeks on Thursday, nothing is decided yet.

‘We deserved more because in this match we played better than the opponents,’ Sarri assessed. ‘We were in control of the match and defended well against a team dangerous in the offensive phase, so we deserved more. We played about 70 balls in the opposition box against 11 balls of Tottenham in our box, 18 shots against seven I think, five goal opportunities against two, so we deserve more. So I am really disappointed with the result but very happy with the performance, one of the most important of the season from my team.’

Sarri went on to explain why…

‘Because we played with a very good level of application and determination, with the head and with the soul, and we played this way with continuity for 95 minutes. Usually we have defended very well for 60 minutes and then we have had problems with the last 15, 20, 30 minutes. This time the level of application was the same for 95 minutes so I am very happy with this.’

The boss questioned the use of VAR, which overruled an initial decision to award offside in Chelsea’s favour before the foul on Kane which lead to the decisive penalty…

‘In Italy there is VAR and in the first period it was a disaster, it was really very difficult for the referee to get used to the system and I think here the referees are not ready to use it in the right way. For example from the image from our camera [Chelsea have our own video analysis at every game], Kane was offside, clearly offside, but it is not important. What is more important is the linesman stopped his run, he did not follow the ball so for the players on the pitch it is clearly offside. So I think he had a big influence on our defenders. So I think they need to study better this system.

‘It is strange in the Premier League there is not this system and then in the Carabao Cup there is suddenly the system. It is strange for us and for the players but also for the referees I think.’


There has been much media spotlight on young Callum Hudson-Odoi in the past few days. He started this game and performed well despite the attention…

‘Hudson-Odoi in the last week has been very normal,’ Sarri reported. ‘I saw him every day in training and he was really very normal. He is improving, in the last match he played very well and also today a very good match. He played like a player of 25, 26 years. A very good match with application, very good in the defensive phase, but he has been completely normal. Maybe he does not read anything.’

Looking ahead to the second leg…

‘Chelsea v Tottenham is a very difficult match and also for them, so it will not be easy to win at Stamford Bridge but after this performance, if we are able to play on the same level I think that we can do it.’
 

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