Chelsea edged past a stubborn MOL Vidi side in the Europa League 1-0 to top Group L, with Alvaro Morata their timely scorer.
Morata’s first goal in seven matches secured three points for the Blues at Stamford Bridge on Thursday against their Hungarian opponents, to move them to the top of their group.
The victory extended Chelsea’s unbeaten streak to ten matches in all competitions and are yet to lose a competitive fixture under manager, Maurizio Sarri.
Their Italian boss spoke after the game on the difficulty of their opponents and the match itself, saying: “It has been very hard. It was [an]important three points.
“We have created a lot of opportunities. We have conceded two or three [chances]to opponents. We have to do better in defensive positions.”
Morata was a surprising match winner, after netting only his second of the campaign in all competitions, and Sarri was delighted for his 25-year-old Spanish striker, who earlier today was called up for his country’s upcoming matches against Wales and England later this month.
Talking about the striker who joined from Real Madrid for £58 million last summer, Sarri felt that his goal could be the start of a return to form.
He said: “I am very happy for him. It is very important for him to score and play a good match.
“I think he has played a good match, [it is]important to play for his teammates. Morata can restart from this performance.”
Morata had a constant arguing battle with the referee, Miroslav Zelinka, over the treatment he received from the Vidi defenders during the win. However, Sarri didn’t seem interested in their actions.
“I don’t want to talk about the opponents”, added the Blues’ manager.”
“They have played their match. I thought Alvaro has to think about our match, the result and not about the opponents. It’s not important.”
Vidi held their nerve for 70 minutes before being broken down, their defensive set-up was a nightmare for Chelsea to unlock.
This was no surprise to Sarri, who said: “They are very defensive. I was surprised because they were dangerous in the counter attacks. Not surprised by being defensive.”
Ruben Loftus-Cheek made his first start in Chelsea blue of the season but was taken off within the hour with his fitness still requiring improvement.
Sarri’s comments on the England midfielder were: “I have to see tomorrow the recovery of the player. He has played for the first time since the beginning. I want to see tomorrow the recovery.”
Sarri also commented on fellow English midfielder, Ross Barkley. Earlier today, he was recalled into Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the first time since May 2016, a decision that Sarri is delighted about.
The Italian added: “I am very happy for him. He had a very serious injury in the last season.
“He has recovered well and [is]improving week by week. He can have a very bright future at this club and [with]the national team.”
By Nathaniel Kay from Stamford Bridge