Maurizio Sarri addresses Stamford Bridge boos after underlining Chelsea’s Europa League ambition – Evening Standard

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Maurizio Sarri insists winning the Europa League final remains a key ambition for Chelsea despite the club looking likely to secure a top-four spot. The Blues recovered from a poor first half showing against Watford at Stamford Bridge on Sunday to beat the Hornets 3-0 and move above Tottenham into third place in the Premier League standings. With Manchester United drawing 1-1 away to Huddersfield on the same afternoon, the race to secure Champions League football via the Premier League is now a three-horse race between Chelsea, Arsenal and Spurs. But Sarri isn’t taking anything for granted. When asked if winning the Europa League is now a luxury for the Blues, Sarri told reporters: “No, no, no. (AFP/Getty Images) “Because we want to be, at the end of the Premier League, in the top four because we want to play in the Champions League. “We consider the Europa League in a different way: it’s a very important competition we want to win because we think we deserve to win a trophy this season. So we have two targets.” Chelsea were booed off by their own fans at half-time against Watford after a lacklustre, and error-strewn, performance but Sarri avoided criticising Blues supporters. “I don’t know [if their reaction was harsh] but, in the first half, we were not able to play simply. We were playing…driving the ball…we were not able to think in a simple way,” he said. “When you are not brilliant, physically, you have to move the ball, one touch or two touches. The ball is not tired. The man is tired. And so, in the second half, we did it better, better and better, probably because something changed in our minds after the first goal.” Sarri also revealed he didn’t say anything to his players to inspire the half-time turnaround, adding: “[I said] Nothing. (EPA) “I think that, in the first half, we were in trouble because we were tired: physically and mentally. Then, in the second half, they lowered their intensity so we were in control of the match. We were lucky, of course, because we scored after two minutes. “After the first goal, probably we improved mentally and we were able to play very well for 30-35 minutes. In the first half we were tired and in trouble, I think tired more mentally than physically. But it’s not easy to play after 60 hours. “In the past, after a match away in the Europa League, we won only one match. And so it’s not easy, as you can see in the last month. Not only for us, but for every team. Apart from Liverpool.”
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