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Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri celebrates with the trophy after the UEFA Europa League final at The Olympic Stadium, Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by Adam Davy/PA Images via Getty Images)

Chelsea assistant coach Gianfranco Zola believes “all the players believed in what we were doing” despite Maurizio Sarri had some issues during his first season abroad as manager.

Zola told journalists after the victory of Europa League trophy: ‘It’s football, no? During a season you can have good moments or bad moments,

What is important is always believing in your work and always giving your best. That’s what we did”.

He added: “Fortunately the players believed in what we were doing, they helped us a lot, and we went through all the problems and difficulties that we had. We are all here celebrating and I think we deserved something”.

 

 

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Inter Milan have announced the appointment of Antonio Conte as their manager after the Italian put the pen to paper on a three-year-contract.

The former Chelsea boss led the Blues to the Premier League title in 2017 before lifting an FA Cup back in 2018.

Current Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri could join Conte in Italy as he reportedly received a massive offer from Serie A champions Juventus following the victory in Europa League final earlier on Wednesday in Baku.

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With a superb second-half Chelsea defeat Arsenal in Baku and win the Europa League.

After a goalless first-half, an Olivier Giroud‘s header broke the lock in the first minutes of the second-half.

Pedro and a penalty by Eden Hazard put the Blues 3 up, before Iwobi scored for Arsenal. In the end, Hazard scored the second goal of the night with Chelsea winning the match 4-1.

The Blues so win their second Europa League after the 2013’s one after the final vs Benfica.

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Chelsea will try to finish their season winning a trophy in tonight’s Europa League final vs Arsenal in Baku.

Here are the confirmed lineups:

Chelsea: Kepa; Azpilicueta (c), Christensen, David Luiz, Emerson; Kante, Jorginho, Kovacic; Pedro, Giroud, Hazard.

Subs: Caballero, Cumming, Zappacosta, Cahill, Alonso, Ampadu, Barkley, McEachran, Gallagher, Willian, Higuain.

Arsenal: Cech; Koscielny, Papastathopoulos, Monreal; Maitland-Niles, Xhaka, Torreira, Kolasinac; Ozil; Aubameyang, Lacazette.

Subs: Leno, Lichtsteiner, Mustafi, Jenkinson, Elneny, Guendouzi, Willock, Saka, Amaechi, Iwobi, Nketiah, Welbeck

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According to the latest reports N’Golo Kante has not recovered from his injury and he won’t be included in Chelsea‘s starting XI.

For Arsenal, former Blues goalkeeper Petr Cech seems favourite over Bernd Leno.

Here are the predicted lineups:

Chelsea: Kepa, Azpilicueta, Christensen, David Luiz, Emerson, Jorginho, Kovacic, Barkley, Pedro, Hazard, Giroud.

Arsenal: Cech, Monreal, Koscielny, Sokratis, Kolasinac, Xhaka, Torreira, Maitland-Niles, Ozil, Aubameyang, Lacazette.

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During his pre-game press conference in Baku, ahead of tonight’s Europa League final vs ArsenalChelsea‘s manager Maurizio Sarri spoke about his first season at Stamford Bridge: “For me at the beginning it was difficult to understand my players and the mentality, but after a very difficult January, February they started to change I think. Probably I changed, I don’t know. In this moment I love them. I have 22 wonderful men and players. I am really very happy. I have to consider it for the future. I have to consider that I love English football and the Premier League”. Sarri underlined. “We did a wonderful season. We are in the Champions League, we weren’t last year. We played a final in a competition where we played Liverpool and Tottenham, then lost the final on penalties to Manchester City. Then tomorrow the final of the Europa League”.

Nonetheless, it seems after Europa League’s final, Sarri could leave Chelsea to join Juventus. The Italian, however, doesn’t want to speak about this topic: “You know very well my opinion. It is the same of the last press conference. Today I need to speak only about the final. My players need me only to speak to the final”. Sarri told the media. “I want to think only to the final. I have a contract then for two years. Now is not the moment. Our feeling is that we want to win”.

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Chelsea’s manager Maurizio Sarri is ready for tonight’s Europa League final vs Arsenal at Baku.

The Italian coach, during his pre-game press conference gave an update on the injuries’ situation for the Blues: “We are in trouble with the midfielders. We have only three midfielders for three positions. We are in trouble. N’Golo is very important. He is the only defensive midfielder that we have. We will try to recover him. N’Golo for us, it is a problem”. Sarri explained. “He had a little problem in his knee on Saturday. We are trying. It is not serious but it is the problem of three or four days. We will try, but right now we don’t know. 50/50, yesterday 60/40 for no, but now 50/50. He was a little better this morning”.

Today Sarri can win the first trophy in professional football, but he still doesn’t consider this the most important night in his career: “I don’t know. Because the feeling between coach and media is different. For media this is the most important of my life, for me maybe not”. the Italian claimed. “Maybe for me more important was a match in Serie B in Italy. I don’t know. Tomorrow I might be able to tell you my feelings. Not at the moment.”

Finally, Sarri gave also a message to all Chelsea fans especially those who couldn’t travel to Baku: “I don’t know what to say about the problems. You have to ask UEFA and the clubs. I am very disappointed. We do this job for this kind of match. We want our fans here. We will try to win for us and also for them”.

 

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Chelsea are training for the Europa League final vs Arsenal as they hope to finish their season winning a trophy.

It hasn’t been an easy season for the Blues and, according to Marcos Alonso part of the reason is manager Maurizio Sarri never playing professional football:  “It’s never easy to come to a new country and new league, new football, new culture. The gaffer is still learning.” Marcos Alonso said. “He was not a football player either, so he is learning a lot this year. Taking orders from someone like that can be different, but at the end of the day we have to be professional and take on whatever he asks us for. He is different”.

So not only Chelsea’s season, but also Marcos Alonso’s one has been full of ups and downs: “I started the season very, and the team also started very well,” the defender added. “Then the manager asked me for something different. I tried to do what he was asking me to do and when the team started winning games again I had a small injury in my back. I had to stop for a couple of games but after that I was back playing good and getting back in the team when they needed me. Now there is a big opportunity to end the season well and go on holiday. It’s not easy of course to adapt. We are eleven players, all have to try to go in the same direction. Managers are different, they have different aspects of tactics. He wanted to change the team not just me. He wanted to change the way we start playing.”

 

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Chelsea secured third place on the Premier League table as Maurizio Sarri’s men end up the season with a goalless draw at King Power Stadium against Leicester City. Only Liverpool and Man City earned more points and the Citizens were crowned league champions today.

The Blues, who are expected to fly to Boston tomorrow to take part of a charity match, will face Arsenal in the Europa League‘s final on 29th May.

CHELSEA (4-3-3) Caballero; Zappacosta, Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Alonso; Barkley (Kovacic 76′), Jorginho, Loftus-Cheek; Pedro, Higuain (Giroud 84′), Willian (Hazard 69′)

LEICESTER CITY (4-4-1-1) Schmeichel; Ricardo, Evans, Maguire, Chilwell; Choudry, Ndidi (Okazaki 66′), Albrighton (Simpson 77′), Tielemans; Maddison (Barnes 83′); Vardy

Bookings: Jorginho

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Chelsea were forced into extra-time after producing another 1-1 at Stamford Bridge, which meant 2-2 on aggregate in the Europa League’s semi-final.

The Blues opened the scoring thanks to Ruben Loftus-Cheek, whose goal was equalized through Luka Jovic (10 goals in the competition) a few minutes before the beginning of second half.

Eintracht Frankfurt went close to scoring the second even in the extra-time, but David Luiz and Davide Zappacosta were both crucial to deny with goal-line clearances.

A missed penalty from Azpilicueta was canceled out after both Hinteregger and Paciencia’s shots were denied by Kepa. Eden Hazard kept his cool from the spot to send Chelsea to Europa League final.

Maurizio Sarri’s men will face Arsenal in Baku on May 27th.

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