We de­serve to go all the way and win tro­phy, claims Sarri

Daily Mail - - Europa League - By ADRIAN KAJUMBA

MAU­R­IZIO SARRI claimed Chelsea de­serve to fin­ish the sea­son with a tro­phy af­ter they fought back against Ein­tra­cht Frank­furt to keep their Europa League hopes alive. Pe­dro’s first-half equaliser spared the man­ager’s blushes fol­low­ing the Ital­ian’s gam­ble to start with tal­is­man Eden Hazard on the bench last night. Chelsea will be­gin next week’s sec­ond leg at Stamford Bridge as favourites to reach the fi­nal. Sarri (be­low), who is also chas­ing a top-four fin­ish, praised his side for bounc­ing back from their mid-sea­son wob­ble, which in­cluded a Carabao Cup de­feat to Manch­ester City, to end the cam­paign with plenty to play for. He said: ‘I want to reach the fi­nal against any team, Arse­nal or Va­len­cia. It’s ex­actly the same for me, who we play. I don’t want to just play the fi­nal. I want to win it. ‘Three months ago, we were in trou­ble in a very dif­fi­cult cham­pi­onship and it’s not easy to re­act, but we were able to re­act. Now, in the last 15 days of the sea­son, we are fight­ing for the top four and the fi­nal in the Europa League, so we de­serve a tro­phy.’ Sarri came un­der fire for rest­ing Hazard on such a hugely im­por­tant oc­ca­sion but de­fended his de­ci­sion, ex­plain­ing the Bel­gian star had played 10 games in a row and was ca­pa­ble of chang­ing the game from the bench. Sarri in­sisted there was no neg­a­tive re­ac­tion from Hazard, who came on af­ter an hour, when he was told in the pre-match meet­ing that he was start­ing on the bench. Sarri said: ‘He was in the dress­ing room jok­ing as usual. But he knows the truth very well. He knows that some­times he has to rest. ‘For a player that has to play 70 matches in a sea­son, it’s nor­mal. A nor­mal re­ac­tion.’ Frank­furt’s dan­ger­man Luka Jovic lived up to his pre-match billing by head­ing his side into a 23rd-minute lead. Pe­dro equalised be­fore half-time but Chelsea spurned a num­ber of chances to build up a cush­ion to take into the sec­ond leg. Sarri said: ‘We de­served to win but 1-1 is not so bad away. They are dan­ger­ous at home, but they are re­ally very dan­ger­ous away. We want to go to the fi­nal, but we know very well we’ll have to play a very good match next week.’

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