Chelsea defeated Malmo 3-0 in the Europa League round of 16 clash at Stamford Bridge, and it wasn’t an easy game in the first-half for the Blues.
The Swedish side pressed Chelsea really hard in the first-half and made the game difficult for Maurizio Sarri’s side. However, Chelsea took control of the game and ended the half the better of the two sides.
Chelsea were more dominant in the second-half and scored three goals to send Malmo crashing out of the tournament, with goals from Olivier Giroud, Ross Barkley and Callum Hudson-Odoi sealing the win for Chelsea, with the tie ending 5-1 in aggregate.
Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri admitted in his post-match press conference after the game that the team struggled to play in the first 30 minutes of the game, and blamed it on a lack of confidence.
“I think we played the first 30 minutes without confidence, we were nervous and unable to move the ball very fast,” the Italian said.
“We were in trouble with their pressing. It was a little bit better in the last 15 minutes of the first half, then after the first goal we played very well. We started to move the ball fast and with confidence. It wasn’t easy for us to play this game so I can understand the first 30 minutes.”
Chelsea’s next game is the League Cup final against Manchester City – a game the Blues lost 6-0 in the league away at the Etihad a fortnight ago, and Sarri has warned that it will be a disaster if Chelsea start in same manner against Pep Guardiola’s side.
He said: “It will be a disaster. I am worried about the first 30 minutes, only for the offensive phase. We cannot play our football without confidence but the level of application was good.”
Explaining why the team were without confidence, Sarri explained that the boos resulting from the defeat to Manchester United was to blame, insisting that the team needs confidence to play Sarri-ball.
He said: “We are in a difficult moment, we had problems with the fans in the last match so it’s normal for the team to enter without confidence. I am really happy with the application in the first part of the match because it’s impossible to play without confidence.
“For playing our football, we need confidence. If we want to be in control and have ball possession and move very fast, we need confidence.”