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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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Earlier today the PFA Premier League Team of the Year has been announced, but Chelsea star Eden Hazard has not been included despite winning 13 Man of the match awards this season (most than any other player), scoring 16 goals and providing 13 assists.

Also, the Belgian talent is part of the short-list who can win the PFA Player of the Year award, so the London club is not happy about Hazard not being included in the PFA Premier League Team of the Year.

Eden Hazard did make the six-man shortlist for the PFA Players’ Player of the Year award, yet he has not been named in the PFA Premier League Team of Year for 2018/19 which was unveiled this morning,” Chelsea declared in an official statement published on their official website. “Our no.10 is enjoying an outstanding season full of eye-catching moments and his non-selection is being widely described as a surprise omission. Certainly his headline statistics from the current season cannot have counted against him when the votes were cast.  Hazard is enjoying his best Premier League campaign to date when it comes to goals and assists combined, and indeed he tops the table for that total across the all the players at all 20 clubs.”

Also, in their statement, Chelsea underlined how “Hazard will discover on Sunday if he is Players’ Player of the Year when the PFA’s individual accolades are handed out at an awards ceremony in London. His rivals for that are Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva from Manchester City, and Sadio Mane and Virgil van Dijk from Liverpool. All five of those are in the Team of the Year.”

 

 

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Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger said the Blues now control their destiny in the race for a spot in the top-four and the qualification for next season’s Champions League.

We have things in our own hands now. It depends only on us”. Rudiger told The Mirror. “We can play ­different styles but it’s always best to find the golden middle. That’s the ­difficult thing”.

According to the German defender the Blues have improved in the last few games: “We have now found a balance. It is a learning curve for the coach as well,” he said. “He learned from that game against Manchester City. There we went to press, we wanted to win the ball, and ­everyone knows what happened”. Rudiger went on. “Now everyone has adapted. People saw the way we played against Tottenham and against Manchester City (Carabao Cup final). It was different from the way we played in the first three months. How we play depends on the coach.

 

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Ahead of Sunday’s game vs FulhamChelsea‘s manager Maurizio Sarri has admitted he will make some rotations in his Starting XI:  “I need to value the recovery of every player and then decide”. Sarri explained during his pre-game press conference. “We need to change three or four players”.

One of these changes can involve the goalkeeper with Kepa who will maybe re-gain his place on the pitch: “The Kepa situation is closed. Kepa is our first goalkeeper, but we are very happy for Willy that he can play in a very difficult match”. the Italian manager claimed. “Kepa will be on the pitch for one of the next two matches. I have not decided yet, I want to see the last two trainings of course, for every player. On Sunday we played 120 minutes and 95 on Wednesday. We ran for 15km on Sunday on average and Wednesday was 12km, so we have to consider it”.

Whoever will play, however, Maurizio Sarri wants from his team the same attitude of the last few matches: “In the last three matches we were consistent. Europa League, drew against City and beat Tottenham. We need to continue with the performance. The result was good”. Sarri said. “We were right against City to wait in our half, we started differently against Spurs. It depends on the situation”.

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Yesterday night for the Premier League‘s match vs Tottenham, the Blues manager Maurizio Sarri selected Willy Caballero and benched Kepa after the “incident” in the final minutes of the Carabao Cup final.

Caballero himself now explains how what happened on Sunday at Wembley made the team stronger: “First of all it was a strange situation which everybody saw,” Caballero told Chelsea official website. “I have to leave it, we have to leave it but I think everyone involved in what happened learnt something and this just brings something good in the atmosphere of the team and that’s the good news. We passed the last days in good harmony, just thinking about how to beat Spurs and we did it. It was very important, it wasn’t a final but that doesn’t matter, we’ve improved a lot and we are more together than ever. We spoke about it after the incident and it was good to have a chat with him [Kepa]. He learnt a lot after what happened and we learnt a lot, as a club and as a team. Sometimes these things can pull players apart but in this case we are more together than ever”.

And these words became reality yesterday night when Chelsea defeated Tottenha, at Stamford Bridge: After this victory, of course every supporter of Chelsea, every player and every part of the club is going to be happy,” said the goalkeeper. “The atmosphere was amazing and we needed to win. We did it pretty well, we defended very well and we are happy that we finished a great game by defending well and scoring goals.”

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Obviously, during his press conference ahead of tomorrow’s Premier League game vs Tottenham, Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has to answer many questions about Kepa and the refusal by the goalkeeper to be replaced by Caballero during the Carabao Cup final vs Manchester City.

So, the Italian explained he has still to decide if Kepa himself will be included in the Starting XI: “I need to send a message to my group, whether Kepa is on the pitch or off it. I have to decide what is better for my group” Sarri told reporters. “He has to be mentally ready. He made a mistake, there are some consequences. If it is to play he has to be ready, if it is on the bench then he has to be ready”.

Despite what happened on Sunday, Maurizio Sarri believes all the players still respect him and he doesn’t feel undermined: “No I don’t feel undermined: after Sunday for me it is over”. the Italian claimed, then adding, when asked if the players still respect him, “Did you see the match on Sunday? So you know the answer. I think better, yes”.

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Speaking during his pre-game press conference ahead of tomorrow’s night Premier League match vs Tottenham Chelsea‘s manager Maurizio Sarri said he is not afraid of losing his job.

I am not under pressure, you have to ask the club”. the Italian said when asked if he needs to win to keep his job. “I don’t know why you ask me. I want to win every match”.

However, Sarri himself admitted the team has had some problems since they lost to Tottenham at Wembley: “At the beginning we had more enthusiasm I think, to remedy mistakes. Then we played without enthusiasm for a period, maybe we were only tired. Of course in the defensive movement we are better now. If we don’t stop to defend, against City we stopped to defend (6-0 loss)”. the Italian explained. “Now we are improving in the defensive phase and in the last two matches. I think we are able to have a great solidity in the defensive phase”.

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Yesterday Chelsea lost the Carabao Cup final vs Manchester City: of course this is not a good result for Maurizio Sarri‘s side, but, altough disappointed, defender Antonio Rudiger claimed there are some positive aspects.

We sat back and waited to counter-attack”. Rudiger told Chelsea’s official website. “Defensively we did well. At the end of the day a penalty shoot-out is 50-50, and they won”.

According to Rudiger, Chelsea’s performance was good, because their tactics was different from the one’s shown during the Premier League game at Etihad Stadium, when Manchester City trashed the Blues: “Against certain teams you have to sit back and wait. At City a couple of weeks ago we went attacking, attacking, attacking and we all know what happened”. Rudiger went on. “Of course it’s disappointing to lose a final. We had only one chance, with N’Golo Kante. Defensively we did what we could and at the end of the day penalties is always 50-50.”

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Chelsea and Man City are still 0-0 after 45′ minutes in the League Cup final at Wembley: a first half with a slow pace and few emotions.

These are the team line-ups:

 

CHELSEA – Kepa; Azpilicueta (c), Rudiger, David Luiz, Emerson; Kante, Jorginho, Barkley; Pedro, Hazard, Willian

Subs: Caballero, Christensen, Kovacic, Loftus-Cheek, Hudson-Odoi, Giroud, Higuain

Manager: Maurizio Sarri

MAN CITY – Ederson; Walker, Otamendi, Laporte, Zinchenko, Fernandinho, D Silva, De Bruyne, B Silva, Aguero, Sterling

Subs: Muric, Danilo, Kompany, Gundogan, Sane, Mahrez, Foden

Manager: Pep Guardiola

 

Referee: Jon Moss

Venue: Wembley Stadium, London, UK

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Tonight Chelsea will face Manchester United at Stamford Bridge in a crucial and difficult Fa Cup game.

It’s a huge game, a very difficult game as well,” Willian  told Chelsea’s official website ‘They are in a good moment and playing very well but we play at home and we have to do our job, which is to try to win the game in front of our fans. It will, for sure, be a difficult game for us. They have technical players, a strong team and they are Man United so we have to respect that. It will be a big game”.

Also the Blues want to win the game because the Fa Cup is one of the trophies they can win this season: “We know it’s a different game, not the Premier League but the FA Cup, and we want to win something this season”. Willian went on. “We have great opportunities to win something. We have this one, against them, we have the Carabao Cup, we have the Europa League, and the Premier League is very difficult but we can reach the top four. So we can go from now until the end of the season and do great things.”

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