Chelsea fans were not happy with Maurizio Sarri’s decision to substitute Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek in the Europa League semifinal clash against Eintracht Frankfurt at Stamford Bridge on Thursday night.
Loftus-Cheek was lively during the game and opened the scoring for Chelsea in the 28th minute before Eintracht Frankfurt drew level shortly after the restart courtesy of a goal from Luka Jovic, which forced the game to extra time. The Blues progressed to the finals of the Europa League after beating Eintracht Frankfurt in a penalty shootout.
Loftus-Cheek had been lively against Eintracht Frankfurt and fans at Stamford Bridge booed Sarri when he opted to take off the England international for Ross Barkley in the 85th minute.
Sarri has now revealed that the Chelsea academy product had a cramp and had to be subbed off.
Explaining his decision to take Loftus-Cheek off, Sarri said: “It’s not serious but he had the usual cramp after 75 minutes.
Sarri has now guided Chelsea to two finals in just his first season in charge of the club and after seeing Chelsea lose to Manchester City on penalty shootout in the Carabao Cup final, Sarri couldn’t stand the agony of watching his side in the shootouts.
“No, I didn’t want to suffer,” he told reporters when asked about not watching.
Sarri also revealed that his side got into trouble after not being able to add a second goal when they had the opportunity.
“It was clear we were not able to score the second goal in the first half, it was difficult,” the Blues boss said.
“If you are not very compact on the pitch it is dangerous, in an open match they [Eintracht Frankfurt] become dangerous. You are not able to stay in control for 90 minutes if you don’t stay high and play in the opposition half.
“We were not able to score the second goal and we were in trouble in the first part of the second half. We did better in the last part, and in extra-time both teams were really very tired, but I think it was a wonderful match.”