Tags Posts tagged with "PAOK Thessaloniki"

PAOK Thessaloniki

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Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri doesn’t blame Europa League clash in Greece, where the Blues had to stay even one day more for a travel disruption, for his team draw at West Ham today:

“It’s very difficult to play in the Europa League, but more difficult in March and April, not now.

“I said only that I don’t know why, in England, after an away match in the Europa League [we do not] play in the Premier League on the Monday night.

“In Italy, it’s possible. Here I have to play 64 hours after a Europa League match. In this period, it’s not a big problem. In April, maybe.

“I knew that West Ham are a very good team. I don’t know why they lost their first four matches in the league, but they are really a very good team. Maybe now [they are] in confidence after they won away against Everton.

“Maybe we could have done better in the last 25 minutes of the first half. Then, I think that we have played very well… well in the second half, generally, but very well in the last 25 minutes.

“It’s impossible to win every match. So it’s okay, one point, for today.”

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Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri is concerned for a disruption that ruined his plans ahead of West Ham clash: after the win in Greece against PAOK in Europa League, the Blues saw their flight home cancelled due to bad weather.

As a result, they have had to wait until today to return to London, with the squad and the staff now scheduled to be back this afternoon, so they stayed at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Thessaloniki for an extra night.

The Italian manager was already said to be concerned about the lack of time between the Europa League and the Premier League matches.

The kick-off times between PAOK and West Ham are little more than 60 hours apart and there is not much time to rest and prepare the derby against Hammers.

The Daily Mail reports Sarri is frustrated by the disruption as he wanted his squad home as soon as possible to prepare for West Ham.

Manuel Pellegrini’s lads have had a full week to work on their plans for Chelsea.

Off the back of their first win, a 3-1 triumph at Everton on Sunday, the Hammers head into the London derby in buoyant mood.

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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 ace Willian reckons new boss Maurizio Sarri has brought the fun back to Blues since replacing Antonio Conte as manager last summer.

The Brazilian had fallen out with Conte and was keen to leave, should the former Juventus manager have stayed for the new season.

Speaking ahead of PAOK clash in Europa League Willian was asked what impact Sarri has made and replied:

“He wants us to play. You can see in the games the difference from last season. We play more, we have more possession, we enjoy, we have fun with responsibility. We win five games in a row so we have to continue the same way.

 “I’m happy with the new manager, with the new profile of football. We have a great team atmosphere. We have great players. We can do everything this season to win titles.

“I‘m very proud to stay and to be a Chelsea player. It’s an honour to play for this club. I’m very happy at Chelsea.

“Everyone knows what happened in the last transfer window but my mind was always at Chelsea. It was always to play for Chelsea. Now with Sarri we have a different way to play football so we just want to enjoy and continue to play for this club.”

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PAOK's Romanian coach Razvan Lucescu g

PAOK manager Razvan Lucescu hopes the Thessaloniki side can extend their unbeaten run against Chelsea in tomorrow’s Europa League Group L clash.

PAOK’s record is two wins and two draws from matches with Arsenal in 1997 and Tottenham in 2011. Chelsea have an identical record against Greek sides.

“We have to manage every game in any competition,” Lucescu told a media conference, according to PAOK’s Twitter feed.

“We will give everything to win the next game. Chelsea is one of the best teams in the world. We will be prepared and we have huge motivation for this game.”

There are some familiar faces among PAOK players : striker Chuba Akpom joined PAOK from Arsenal last summer and has played alongside Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud when both were Gunners while Belgian midfielder Omar El Kaddouri played at Napoli under Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri and alongside Blues midfielder Jorginho.

Striker Aleksandar Prijovic has returned to training following a hamstring problem and could be included by the Greek side, who have no other injury concerns, while Sarri left Eden Hazard, David Luiz and Mateo Kovacic in London to rest.

PAOK have an ambitious target in a group which also includes BATE Borisov of Belarus and Vidi of Hungary.

Ukraine midfielder Yevhen Shakhov said: “Our target is to pass from the group stage. We understand the quality of Chelsea, but we have to remain concentrated to our game.”

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Speaking in the pre-match press conference ahead of the Europa League against PAOK, Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri explained why Eden Hazard, Mateo Kovacic and David Luiz stayed in London instead of travelling with the rest of the squad:

“First of all David Luiz is in Cobham because he is playing very often now after six months without playing and so I thought it was better for him to have training and rest.

“The second is Mateo Kovacic only for the little injury in the last match against Cardiff. And the last one is Eden Hazard because he told me that after the national team and after the match against Cardiff he was a little bit tired so I thought it was better to stay in Cobham, to have training and to rest.”

The Italian coach has also revealed that he has not briefed his players on the toxic atmosphere they are likely to receive inside the stadium tomorrow night.

“My players are professionals so they must be able to play in every situation. As I said before I am worried about the opponent because they are a very good team not the atmosphere in the stadium.

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