Maurizio Sarri was a frustrated figure on the sidelines as Chelsea struggled to dominate the game against Slavia Prague.
Jindrich Trpisovsky’s side made life difficult for the Blues as they continued to press all game long and even tested Kepa Arrizabalaga with some good shots.
Chelsea found it hard to cope with Slavia’s intensity and were made to suffer all through the game. Worse still, a number of players were below par at the Eden Arena, but Blues Maurizio Sarri took some positives out from the game and revealed that he was happy that his side was able to suffer and still didn’t concede a goal.
“I’m really happy with the result, and also with the performance,” Sarri said.
“In this moment we are able to suffer, and in the past we were not able to suffer in the difficult moments of a match.
“In the past when we were in trouble, we immediately conceded a goal. Now we are able to stay in trouble to fight and to suffer without conceding anything.”
Speaking about the quality of the Czech side, Sarri said: “We knew very well to play here is very difficult. The opponents are very physical, very aggressive, so we knew we had to face difficulties during the match. We were able to face them well, then in the second half we were able to play better.
“Now we need to think the second leg will be difficult. These opponents are also very dangerous away, like against Genk (where they won 4-1). We need to be careful.”
Interestingly, Jindrich Trpisovsky trained his side in a weird way for this match, as he studied only clips of games where Chelsea struggled, so he’d know how to hurt Sarri’s side.
The Slavia Prague manager said: “It’s much harder to try to find some mistakes or weak spots that we could use in order to get some advantage because they are a high quality.
“We’ve watched different games, especially matches where the opponents managed to get more points or put them under pressure and played very well. We were choosing matches where Chelsea were not as strong as they usually were.”