Chelsea are into the last 16 of Europa League after breezing past Malmo in the previous round and they play Dynamo Kiev tomorrow night.
Ahead of the game, Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri has faced the press.
We are lucky we have no injuries. We have some players very tired because the week was hard. We had 130 minutes in the final, it was really very hard. We need to concede the situation and rest some players.
Why the improvement?
Tactically we changed the line of pressing at times, but I think mentally. The final was important, we lost 6-0 at Manchester but then we were able to play the same level of them. It was important for our minds.
Why the slope at the end of Fulham?
We changed six players I think, I don’t remember. We had a good rotation, but probably we were tiring. Some players physically. All the team mentally.
It is not a big problem. The only problem is the results. I want to win for the club, not for me. I was confident in the past, I am now and I want to think only to our performances and our results, not anything else.
EL best way to get into Champions League?
I think we can gain the spot in the Champions League from the Premier League. Europa League is very important, the second in Europe, it is an important target.
Harder to have first leg at home?
I think my team is good enough to win at home and away. The two matches will be very difficult. They are a physical team, a young team. Wingers fast so we need two very good performances. Our target is to play the same football at home and away.
Premier League doing enough for English clubs?
I think at this moment we played six or seven more matches than other European teams. It means two months of matches during the week, without training. For an English team, it is very difficult to be competitive in March, April. Yesterday we saw Real Madrid against Ajax. Ajax didn’t play in the last match in Dutch, Real came from two matches against Barca, a big difference. The Premier League can do more. In Italy you can ask to play on Monday, one day more to rest is important. When we will play in Premier League 62 or 63 hours after Kiev, I think it is too early.
Respect from the players
I was lucky I think because I have two very good goalkeepers. Caballero did well and Kepa did well against Fulham, I am lucky for this. We have really very good goalkeepers. I was lucky. The players respected me also before, it wasn’t a problem for me, the dressing room. We had some problems with the mentality, we did very badly in two or three matches.
Having played Kiev before with Napoli
The match in Kiev was the first in Champions League. Dynamo were a good team, the second match was strange because ten minutes before the result from the other game came through and we needed to win in Lisbon. So it was strange, conditioned by the other result. Usually, we play the strongest team in Ukraine. Dynamo are very good, Shakhtar are as well.
Are the players difficult to manage?
Not at all. In my opinion no. The situation is difficult because at Chelsea you need to win something, but the players are not difficult to manage at all.
I said it is not important next season if I will be here, for me at this moment it is only important the results. I am confident (I will be here next season) as I have to think that for me to do my job.
Callum is always in my mind, I don’t know if tomorrow he will be on the pitch. I think you have to put less pressure on the young English player as they have to improve. I have not seen a player of 18 at the top, Callum the same as others need to improve. It is very important that, and then he will be able to be at the top when he is 22 or 23. You put too much pressure on the English young players.
Dealing with next season
No, we were talking about the problem of next pre-season. We were trying to organise the next pre-season. I don’t want to be relaxed, I want to be nervous because I want to think about a very important match, then another. I don’t want to be relaxed.