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Sarri storms off as pressure on him mounts in Euro glory bid

Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri
Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri

By Graham Luney

Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri stormed out of training last night as the pressure on him visibly increased ahead of tonight's Europa League final against Arsenal in Baku.

The Blues manager threw his club baseball cap to the turf, kicked it, picked it up and threw it down again, before walking down the Baku Olympic Stadium tunnel.

There also appeared to be an on-pitch disagreement between David Luiz and Gonzalo Higuain but Chelsea officials later said the incidents were not believed to be related.

Sarri's Stamford Bridge future is unclear, with the sack or a move to Juventus a possibility, while Unai Emery's Arsenal need a win to qualify for the Champions League next season.

Sarri admitted: “The beginning of the season was really very difficult for me to         understand my players, the mentality.”

Chelsea will not stand in Sarri’s way if Juventus, who are looking for a manager following the departure of Max Allegri, are willing to pay up to £5m in compensation.

Asked if he could end up at Juventus next season, the Blues chief added: “I want to think only to the final of course, then I have a contract with Chelsea for two years.

“So first of all I will speak with Chelsea, but this is not the moment. Now we have only to think to the final.”

The final looks set to be Eden Hazard’s last game for Chelsea, with Real Madrid president Florentino Perez saying he is “very hopeful” that the Belgian will move to Spain this summer.

Doubts also remain over Sarri’s Stamford Bridge tenure even though he has already led Chelsea to next term’s Champions League courtesy of a third-place Premier League finish.

Reflecting on an often fractious first campaign in London, he added: “After a very difficult month in January, in February they started to change, I think, probably I changed, I don’t know.

“In this moment I love them, because I have 20, 22 wonderful men and wonderful players. So now I am really very happy with them. And of course I have to consider it for the future. And I have to consider that I love English football, I love the Premier League.”

Emery insists his Arsenal side are fully focused on the main prize ahead of the final in Azerbaijan.

The Gunners boss said: “We are focused on our final. We have a big challenge.

“We have two targets (including Champions League qualification) but for now we’re focused on winning a trophy.”

When asked whether Petr Cech would feature in his starting line-up, the 47-year-old would not be drawn into naming his side for the game.

Belfast Telegraph


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