CHELSEA, Sarri before PAOK clash: "We want to control the match through ball possession"

Published on: 20 September 2018

Introducing Chelsea Europa League opening match, against PAOK Thessaloniki, Blues boss, Maurizio Sarri stated: "Regarding players who won't be there, David Luiz is in Cobham. He is playing very often now, after six months without playing, and so I thought it would be better for him to have training and rest. The second is Kovacic, after the little injury in the last match against Cardiff. The last one is Eden Hazard. He told me after the national team, and the match against Cardiff, he was a little bit tired, so I thought it would be better for him to stay at Cobham and rest.

Our target is first of all to qualify, and then to qualify in first spot in our group. So, in order to win our group, the match against PAOK is the most important in the group, because it’s the most difficult match. My players are professionals. They must be able to play in every situation. I am worried about the opponent, because they are a very good team, not about the atmosphere in the stadium.I have seen the four matches played by PAOK in the Champions League play-offs. My staff have seen the matches of the Greek championship. I think I know everything.

We want to play our features out, to control the match through ball possession, but I know it will be difficult. They are a good team. They have won against Basel, Spartak Moscow, they drew against Benfica in Portugal. We have to do a very good match if we want to gain points.

Loftus-Cheek getting a line-up spot? I don’t know. I think Ruben is a very good player, but I don’t know if there is a spot for him tomorrow. Of course there will be one in the future. Now it’s very difficult. In the first part of the season it’s very important to play with possibly the same players to have a very solid team. I have to change four or five players, but it’s impossible at this moment of the season to change 11 players. Unfortunately, we have to play with 11 players, and I have 28 players. Then 17 players will not be happy with me! There's this match, there is a match on Wednesday, after the match on Sunday against West Ham, so I think in these two matches there will be a chance for 20 players".