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Alvaro Morata started the game against PAOK before being replaced by Olivier Giroud later in the second period, with 9 minutes left to go in Chelsea‘s opening game of Europa League group stage.

Chelsea cruised to a 0-1 win courtesy of an early goal from Brazilian star Willian, with Pedro injured.

And manager Maurizio Sarri, speaking after the clash, stated “Alvaro was unlucky” against the Greek side.

“Alvaro has to gain confidence with one, two, three goals. I am not able to give him confidence. In this match he has had three, four opportunities” Sarri said.

“He was unlucky. I hope for him that in the future I can try to help him, but the confidence can become only with goals. With two goals in two matches. I don’t know.

“I also have to say Alvaro was ready in the box, maybe for the first time this season. He was active”.

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A goal from Willian cruised Chelsea to an away victory over PAOK in Greece last evening as Europa League’s Group L began. Bate Borisov are currently level on points with the Blues following their 0-2 win against Vidi FC in Hungary.

Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri told journalists after the game: “I think we were in control of the match for 90 minutes. We have had a lot of opportunities. We missed several. I am really very happy with the three points, very happy with the performance I think, but I am not very happy with the result. When it is time to kill the match we have to kill the match.”

“I don’t know. For an English team, the Europa League is a very difficult competition. We have to play again in 63 hours, on Sunday morning. I don’t know in the future: it’s not a big problem now. We have played only 6 matches so far. I hope to qualify before the last one or two games.”

About Chelsea opponents he said: “I expected Prijovic starting, but probably he was injured a few days ago. I think we played very well. We were in control of the match. It was difficult for everybody to play against us this evening. I hope we were so good and it’s not the fault of PAOK.” 

Sarri added: “I have seen five, six matches of PAOK and I think there are very good players, for example the number 10, Pelkas, I think he is a very good player. Maybe not in this match. But I have seen five, six matches of this team and they have some good players.”

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Chelsea winger Pedro limped off in agony after a collision with the PAOK goalkeeper in Europa League’s first game in Greece yesterday.

Speaking after the clash, manager Maurizio Sarri has given an update on the Spaniard, whose injury seems to be “not a very serious one”. 

He said: “I don’t know. The problem is shoulder, but I don’t know exactly the situation.

I have spoken with the doctor, but only for a few seconds. The doctor told me that probably it’s not a very serious injury.”

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Chelsea star Willian was crucial as he scored the decisive goal which led the Blues to their first win in the Europa League Group L last evening in Greece.

The Brazilian international, who was handed the armband against PAOK, said after the game:  ‘We had control of the game,

“We could have had a better result. We scored a goal that was very important, but at the same time we have to be more clinical because we missed a lot of chances and we have to improve on that, but at least we got the three points”.

“The atmosphere was unbelievable. They pushed us a bit more in the second half, but we stayed focused all the time”.

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Willian‘s goal in the first half is enough for Chelsea to gain their first three points in Europa League group stage.

The Brazilian scored thanks to an assist provided by Ross Barkley. Both in first and second half the Blues dominated the game and had a lot of chances to score the second goal, but they always missed them.

Maurizio Sarri‘s side is now top of the table in Group L together with Bate Borisov who defeated 2-0 Hungarian side Vidi Fc.

Chelsea will play their second game on Thursday October 4th when the Blues will face Vidi Fc at Stamford Bridge.

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Chelsea are 1-0 up at half-time in their Uefa Europa League opener vs Paok in Thessaloniki.

The Blues’ goal was scored by Willian with the assist provided by Ross Barkley.

Maurizio Sarri‘s side had many other chances to score but Alvaro Morata and Pedro missed them.

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Chelsea face Greek side PAOK as Europa League’s group-stage starts this evening (kick-off 5.55PM BST). Teams are underway and here’s how both teams will start at Toumba Stadium:

PAOK -Paschalakis, Varela, Tosca, Vieirinha, Khacheridi, El Kaddouri, Mauricio, Wernbloom, Shakhov, Lima, Pelkas

Subs: Rey, Crespo, Biseswar, Warda, Canas, Prijovic, Limnios

CHELSEA – Kepa, Rudiger, Alonso, Zappacosta, Christensen, Jorginho, Kante, Barkley, Pedro, Willian, Morata

Subs: Caballero, Cahill, Azpilicueta, Fabregas, Loftus-Cheek, Moses, Giroud

Neither Ethan Ampadu nor Hudson-Odoi make the Chelsea bench. The Wales international has recently put the pen to paper on a new five-year deal with the Blues.

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Chelsea will play their first Europa League game tomorrow night as the Blues will face Paok in Greece.

Italian manager Maurizio Sarri has decided to left out of the squad who is travelling to Greece, Belgian star Eden Hazard, defenders David Luiz and Emerson Palmieri and midfielder Mateo Kovacic.

On the other hand, both Cesc Fabregas and Ruben Loftus-Cheek have returned to training and they are part of the squad ready to face Paok tomorrow night.

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Chelsea defender David Luiz is enjoying a massive start to the new Premier League season as the Blues earned 15 points from 5 games so far under Maurizio Sarri‘s management.

The Brazilian star, speaking after a comeback win against Cardiff City, told Chelsea’s official website: “I love his philosophy. It’s amazing. Before everything he is a great person, as a human he talks with us every single day, he enjoys what he does.

He is a guy who really loves football, and it’s always special to work with people like him”.

Sarri himself has confirmed he still believes Man City and Liverpool are favorites to lift the title at the end of the season. Also David Luiz had his say on it: “In the Premier League you have to think game by game. Chelsea is a big club which will always fight for titles. It doesn’t matter the name of the competition.

This year it’s a great opportunity for us if we continue in this way, but it’s too early. We have to keep our feet on the ground and work every day”.

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Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri believes Eden Hazard “can score 40 goals” this campaign as he confirmed the Belgian star “is the best player in Europe” following his performances with the Blues in their convincing start to the season.

Sarri told journalists: “I thought he was one of the best players in Europe, but now I change my mind that he is the best. I think Hazard can improve more. I think that he can spend less energy than now at 50 or 60 metres to the oppositions goal”

“I think he can do it, he can do it. I told him in the last two days because Eden only arrived two days ago after the international teams I prefer to give the players one day off. I have spoke to him in the last two days, I told him for me he can score 40 goals. But spend less energy away from the goal and play in the last 25 metres”.

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