MX23RW : Friday, March 22 21:23:39
Feb 14, 2019 at 8pm UK at ​Swedbank Stadion, Malm
Attendance: 20,312
MalmoMalmo
1-2
Chelsea
FT(HT: 0-1)
Barkley (30'), Giroud (58')

Maurizio Sarri looking for Chelsea to bounce back against Malmo

Maurizio Sarri looking for Chelsea to bounce back against Malmo
© Reuters
As well as the Europa Cup tie, Chelsea have games against Manchester United, Manchester City and Tottenham coming up.

Maurizio Sarri's Chelsea face the first of a series of short-term tests at Malmo on Thursday night as the Italian faces a crucial period which could determine his future as head coach.

The 60-year-old has not heard directly from Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich since Sunday's humiliating 6-0 loss at Manchester City, the Blues' opponents in the Carabao Cup final on February 24.

Sarri maintains lifting the League Cup is a realistic target, but the first goals are the Europa League last-32 tie with Malmo, the first leg of which takes place in Sweden.

In between comes Monday's FA Cup fifth-round meeting with Manchester United, while a Premier League clash with Tottenham follows the Wembley date.

"We need short-term targets, and then a dream in the long-term," Sarri said.

"It's not easy to play after a 6-0, but we have to play and we have to play well. We want to win and react immediately.

"On Monday, the target will be to get into the quarter-finals. Then to win the League Cup. It's very strange to say it after a 6-0, but we want to win."

The Blues' 4-0 loss at Bournemouth last month was Chelsea's worst since September 1996, until City inflicted further embarrassment on Sarri's side, who suffered their biggest defeat in 28 years.

Following the Etihad Stadium defeat, Sarri said in an interview with an Italian broadcaster that he "never" speaks to Abramovich, an owner not renowned for his patience.

Sarri insisted his comments had been mistranslated when asked if he had spoken to Abramovich.

"No, not this week – not in the last three weeks," Sarri said.

"I didn't say never. Not very often, but not never. The interview was in Italian and in Italian I am better than you.

"I'd like to speak with somebody in the club, not necessarily the owner. I usually speak with Marina (Granovskaia, the director) and for me it's enough."

Maurizio Sarri
Chelsea head coach Maurizio Sarri faces a crucial period, beginning against Malmo on Thursday night (Nick Potts/PA)

There has been plenty of discussion with his players – a 50-minute dressing-room inquest at Bournemouth followed by an hour-long one on Monday.

Sarri has been critical of his players' motivation, especially after the loss at Arsenal.

He insisted motivation was not the issue at City, but the problem was psychological.

"It's always a mind problem, a mental problem, so we need to solve them," he added.

Left-back Marcos Alonso and midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek did not travel to Sweden. Alonso was rested, Sarri says, and Loftus-Cheek has suffered a recurrence of his niggling back problem.

Uwe Rosler
Uwe Rosler believes his Malmo side can unsettle Chelsea (Richard Sellers/PA)

Malmo boss Uwe Rosler, a former City striker, delighted in Chelsea's loss despite the prospect of a backlash.

Malmo have not played since beating Besiktas in the Europa League group stages, but Rosler sees flaws in the Blues which his side can expose.

He said: "I think we will get opportunities. I saw areas where we can cause them problems.

"We have a plan. With a bit of luck and some outstanding performances, we have an outside chance of getting a result."


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Callum Hudson-Odoi after Chelsea's FA Cup win over Sheffield Wednesday on January 27, 2019.
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool31237170185276
2Manchester CityMan City30242479215874
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs30201957322561
4Arsenal30186663392460
5Manchester UnitedMan Utd30177658401858
6Chelsea30176750331757
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves30128103836244
8Watford30127114244-243
9West Ham UnitedWest Ham31126134146-542
10Leicester CityLeicester31125144043-341
11Everton31117134342140
12Bournemouth31115154356-1338
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle3198143140-935
14Crystal Palace3096153641-533
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2996143242-1033
16Southampton3079143450-1630
17Burnley3186173559-2430
18Cardiff CityCardiff3084182757-3028
19Fulham3145222970-4117
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield3135231857-3914

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