By 90Min
February 20, 2019

Maurizio Sarri has confirmed that Pedro, Kepa Arrizabalaga and Davide Zappacosta will be unavailable for Chelsea's Europa League clash against Malmo on Thursday.

The Blues will hope to gain some momentum, after their latest insipid performance saw them beaten 2-0 by Manchester United in the fifth round of the FA Cup, with Sarri himself the subject of widespread boos from the Stamford Bridge faithful.

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Ahead of Thursday's Europa League clash against Malmo, the former Napoli boss provided an injury update, saying (as quoted by BBC Sport): "Pedro is suffering with a stomach ache, Kepa has a hamstring problem and Zappacosta has a fever."


Sarri also responded to the criticism on his possession-based 'Sarriball' system, remarking: "The system is a false problem.


"I know very well that when we lose I have to put a striker on the pitch. When we win I have to put a defender on the pitch. But I want to see football in another way.

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"I understand the frustration of the fans as they are used to winning, but the only way to turn it around is to produce good performances and get results."


With earlier reports suggesting that the Chelsea hierarchy had identified Blues legend Frank Lampard and former Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane as potential candidates for the job, Sarri confirmed he had not spoken to either club owner Roman Abramovich or director Marina Granovskaia despite the growing uncertainty over his future.


"I have to think that I will be the manager of Chelsea for a long time, otherwise I cannot work," he added.

One of the biggest criticisms of Sarri's reign has been his use of France World Cup winner N'golo Kante in a more advanced role, rather than as a holding midfielder.

When asked why the ex-Leicester City star did not feature in his more natural position, Sarri revealed: "I want a player who is able to move the ball very fast as the deep-lying midfielder, which is why N'Golo Kante is not playing there."


After securing a 2-1 victory in the first leg against their Swedish opponents last week, Sarri also confirmed that the side would remain focused on progressing into the last 16 of the competition before turning their attentions towards Sunday's Carabao Cup final against Manchester City.

"Of course in this moment it's very difficult to think we're able to win three, four matches in a row," he added. "As you know very well in football everything can change in one day.

"I think we need first of all a good performance, a good result and with more confidence we are able to do anything."

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