Sarri:Chelsea not Europa league favourites

Author: Omnisport
Maurizio Sarri
Maurizio Sarri

Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri believes it is too early in the competition to consider his side as favourites to win the Europa League.

Having claimed a 1-0 win at PAOK in their opening group game, the Blues host Hungarian side Vidi at Stamford Bridge on Thursday looking to take a further step towards the knockout phase.

Chelsea are widely considered the favourites to lift the trophy they last won in 2013, but Sarri is wary of becoming complacent before the teams who finish third in their Champions League groups enter the competition at the last-32 stage.

However, the Italian admits he is eager to deliver silverware in his first season at the club, even if he does not lose sleep over the pressure to win.

"We want to arrive to the end [of the competition]," he told a news conference. "But I don't know. The Europa League is a very unusual competition. At the moment, we don't know the names of all the opponents. In the second round will arrive eight teams from the Champions League. It's very difficult.

"In Italy, it's not very easy to win a trophy. In the last seven, eight years, only Juventus won a trophy. It's very difficult. In England it's difficult, because in England we have six, seven teams that can win. So, it's very difficult.

"I am here to win, I want to win, I want to win something. I hope to be able to do it. No [I don't lose sleep over it]. I need to sleep for eight hours every night, otherwise I am in trouble."

Chelsea dropped points in the Premier League for the first time this season after their win over PAOK, as they were held to a 0-0 draw by West Ham three days later.

Sarri, who plans to make a number of changes to his line-up for Vidi's visit, admits it is more difficult to balance commitments in the Europa League than the Champions League, although he refused to blame the draw against their London rivals on their trip to Greece.

"I don't think that in West Ham we haven't won [because of] the match in Greece," he said. "We changed a lot of players. I don't think the reason was that.

"Of course, [on Thursday] we need to change some players, because we have spent a lot of mental energy and physical energy in two matches against Liverpool. Then, after this match, we have to play a game in 60, 62 hours. I don't know how many we have to change, but we have to change.

"I think it's more difficult because in Champions League usually you have 80 hours from a match to the other match. In the Europa League, especially in England, we have only 60, 64 hours, so it's more difficult. In Italy, it's different, especially if you play away in the Europa League. You can ask to play on Monday night. In Italy, usually if you play at home on Thursday, you play on Sunday, but at eight o'clock."