Chelsea have advanced to the semi-final of the Europa League after beating Slavia Prague 5-3 on aggregate in the quarterfinal.
Chelsea are among the favourites to win this competition and have a semi-final clash with Frankfurt next month. Meanwhile, Arsenal progressed through their tie with Napoli and will face Valencia in the other semi-final clash.
A potential English Europa League final await both Chelsea and Arsenal, if they go past their semi-final opponents, but Blues boss Maurizio Sarri doesn’t want to look too far ahead and insists that the German side are a strong opposition.
The Chelsea boss said: “We did very well in the first half and of course we are really happy to reach a European semi-final because we know that is not easy,’ said the boss in his post-match press conference.
“To reach the final would be great for us but we need to study Eintracht Frankfurt very carefully now because they are a great team with a wonderful striker in Luka Jovic.”
Slavia Prague indeed made it tough for Chelsea as Sarri’s men had to suffer in both legs of the competition.
The Blues started brilliantly at Stamford Bridge, and raced into a 3-0 lead inside 17 minutes, and led 4-1 at the break. However, Chelsea struggled to take control of the game in the second-half and conceded twice early in the second period to lead to a nervy finish to the game.
Speaking about the problem of conceding early goals, Sarri said: “It’s a problem we have had for the last two months where we start the second half badly. We need a solution to solve this because in the last 10 matches it has been the same.
“Maybe at the end of the first half we thought we had qualified already but against this opponent that wasn’t true because they are the most physical team I have seen in my career.
“They have physical numbers I’ve never seen before so it was clear the second half would be difficult for us but of course we did something wrong in the first 15 minutes.”
Sarri also explained after the game that he told the players to maintain the same way they started the first-half but is surprised that it didn’t turn out that way.
He said: “I said the target was to start with the same application and attention as the first half but we didn’t do it – we are not able to restart the game immediately.
“I don’t know why that is. It’s not easy to understand otherwise we could solve the problem quickly.”