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Sarri: Chelsea fell asleep after first goal, but woke up just in time

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Chelsea went from in complete control, to thoroughly deserving to concede an equalizer after falling asleep, to waking back up and taking their deserved victory over Newcastle United on Saturday.

[ MORE: What we learned in the Premier League, Week 22 ]

That’s how Blues boss Maurizio Sarri saw it, at least.

After going 1-0 ahead through Pedro in the 9th minute, Chelsea “slept for 20, 25 minutes, so at the end of the first half [they] were in trouble,” in Sarri’s words. Newcastle were able to find their footing and work their way back to 1-1 in the 40th minute. Smart money is on Sarri reading his players the Riot Act at halftime, thus the post-game criticism as well as the strong response in the second half — quotes from the Guardian:

“After the goal I think we thought, ‘Now it’s easy,’ but it wasn’t. We slept for 20, 25 minutes, so at the end of the first half we were in trouble. We need to improve in the mental reaction. After our first goal something happened. We need to improve.

Presumably related to his side’s up-and-down showing, Sarri also jumped at the chance to campaign for reinforcements during the January transfer window. With Cesc Fabregas leaving to join Monaco this week, central midfield is the first area Sarri would like to see strengthened, but he isn’t so sure he’ll get what he wants — quotes from the Standard:

“Today Jorginho was in trouble and, on the bench, there wasn’t a player for that position. I need an option for Jorginho.”

“I have no idea. …The club knows very well my opinion.

“I need the player there, it depends on the club decision, I think. I cannot do anything more.”

Chelsea boss Sarri plenty upset with VAR decision for Spurs

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Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri doesn’t have a problem with Video Assistant Referee, but he sure thinks it wasn’t used well in Tuesday’s League Cup semifinal between his Blues and the host Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley Stadium.

[ RECAP: Spurs 1-0 Chelsea ]

VAR awarded a penalty to Harry Kane about 90 seconds after the Spurs striker was ruled offside moments after Chelsea keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga chopped him down in the box.

Sarri understands the use of technology, but thinks the people making the decision got it wrong.

[ MORE: Spurs react to VAR-infused win ]

Apparently, they should’ve asked for the Chelsea camera! From the BBC:

“A few minutes ago I watched the video from our camera. It was offside,” Sarri said. “Our camera was in line with Harry Kane. Offside with the head, the knee. Offside. It was really important the linesman carried on running, he had a big impact on our defenders. … I don’t think English referees are able to use the system.”

Sarri was not disappointed in his team’s performance, as just the finishing touch was missing at Wembley Stadium.

Chelsea out-attempted Spurs 17-6, and deserved better than a 1-0 deficit.

“We played into the opposition box 70 balls,” he said. “Tottenham had 10 balls into our box. We had 17 or 18 shots, nine on target. I think we played very well. In this moment it is not easy to score but I am happy with my players.”

Sarri: Pochettino ‘has to win trophy’ at Spurs

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London rivals Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea begin their League Cup semifinal with a first leg at Wembley Stadium on Tuesday, and their managers are striking two different notes on the same ideas: Championships and legacy.

Both involve the big picture, though, and Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri‘s thoughts center around the importance of winning hardware. Not just for his short reign at Chelsea, but — pressure alert — Pochettino’s tenure at Spurs.

[ MORE: Wolves-LFC recap | 4th round draw ]

“I agree he has to win a trophy, I hope not this,” Sarri said, according to The London Evening Standard. “For Pochettino, four years (without a trophy), for Jurgen Klopp, four years. It was really very hard in the first season also for Pep Guardiola so here it is really very difficult to build up a very good team – you need time.”

Sarri also admitted that the Blues’ 3-1 Premier League loss at Spurs hurt their season in a big way.

Meanwhile, Pochettino was discussing his admiration for another former London boss, two-decade plus Arsenal legend Arsene Wenger. And for him, five years is a short part of a big project. From the LES:

“It’s true it’s only going to be my fifth year,” Pochettino said. “But it’s true we work and we know the reality of all that happens inside, and sometimes we cannot expect that the people [on the outside] live the same reality or have the same knowledge about what happens inside. I hope, or I wish maybe, to be here 20 years and decide to leave or to finish my career here.

“But I don’t know because I need to ask him if I have one day the possibility if he is so happy in the way that he finished. I don’t believe. What I saw from my point of view, it was so unfair how the people treated him and talked. But we’ll see.”

Are we the only ones having a difficult time keeping that in context? Does Pochettino harbor thoughts about leaving before spoiling his legacy? Or does he genuinely think a long run at Spurs is in the offering?

Trust us, Ed Woodward and Florentino Perez really would like to know the answers to those questions (even the context one).

Sarri: Hudson-Odoi should stay at Chelsea

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Callum Hudson-Odoi has been the subject of three bids from Bayern Munich during the January transfer window, the latest over $38 million, but Chelsea remain reluctant to let their 19-year-old leave for the Bundesliga.

Maurizio Sarri reinforced that notion Monday as he spoke to the media ahead of Chelsea’s League Cup semifinal against Tottenham.

Asked if a move to Bayern Munich would be better for Hudson-Odoi’s development, considering he has just 18 months left on his current Chelsea contract, the Italian coach revealed he wants the young English winger to remain at Stamford Bridge.

“I don’t think so, because he is an English player. He is very young, he has the future. He has a very great future here in England, with the national team and Chelsea. To stay here is better for him,” Sarri said.

Hudson-Odoi assisted both of Chelsea’s goals in their 2-0 FA Cup third round win over Nottingham Forest at the weekend but is said to be generally frustrated by a lack of first team action.

When you see what has happened to the likes of Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Dominic Solanke and Tammy Abraham in recent years at Chelsea, you can understand where he is coming from.

Although Sarri revealed he hasn’t spoken directly to Hudson-Odoi because whether or not he stays is down to the club and not himself, he did hint that the teenager will play a more prominent role in the months to come after his impressive cameos on the wing.

“I know only that for me he is a very important player. He is very young but now he is improving especially in the defensive phase. He played really very well in the last match. I am really very happy with him. I don’t know the situation with the club. He is ready,” Sarri said. “Of course we have very important players in the same position. You want Willian on the bench? Pedro? I can play with only two wingers. I think now I can start to consider him on the same level.”

With Christian Pulisic signed in January for $73 million and arriving in the summer from Borussia Dortmund, it is likely that Hudson-Odoi faces a long-term battle to become a regular after graduating through Chelsea’s academy.

Both Willian and Pedro could move on in the summer, so a spot may open up for Hudson-Odoi, but given the likes of Reiss Nelson and Jadon Sancho excelling in the Bundesliga at Hoffenheim (on loan from Arsenal) and Borussia Dortmund respectively, heading to Germany is an enticing prospect.

Especially to Bayern, as the German giants look to the future with Franck Ribery in the twilight of his carrer and Arjen Robben moving on in the summer. Not an easy decision for Hudson-Odoi should Chelsea receive an offer they can’t refuse in the next few weeks.

Reports: Chelsea teen Hudson-Odoi appears close to Bayern move

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According to multiple reports, most notably from Sky Germany, Chelsea teenager Callum Hudson-Odoi looks more and more likely to leave Stamford Bridge this January.

The 18-year-old has impressed highly but has managed just one Premier League appearance under Maurizio Sarri this season. With his contract expiring in July of 2020, the Blues have tried desperately to tie him down long-term, reportedly offering him a five-year contract this summer. However, Hudson-Odoi reportedly held off on signing the extension until he saw how much playing time he would receive under new manager Sarri, and with that number quite paltry so far, he is more motivated than ever to depart.

[ MORE: Thursday Transfer Rumor Roundup ]

Sky Germany reports that Bayern Munich has made three approaches for Hudson-Odoi since late December, and the latest of $37.5 million has finally piqued Chelsea’s interest, forced in part by Hudson-Odoi asking the club to let him leave. English publication The Guardian has backed up that report, confirming Bayern has seen a pair of bids already rejected. The total would leave CHO as the most expensive English teenager ever.

With Bayern desperately looking for a long-term replacement to one or both of Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery – the duo sits at 34 and 35 years old respectively – this seems the perfect opportunity to bring in a valuable squad option at a relatively cheap price.

Other reports in the English tabloids suggest that while Chelsea initially pushed for a buy-back clause, Bayern rejected that notion and instead agreed to a sell-on clause, allowing Chelsea a cut of any potential profits should Bayern sell Hudson-Odoi in the future.

Hudson-Odoi has found himself among a crowded winger situation at Chelsea, with the likes of Eden Hazard, Willian, and Pedro keeping him out of the lineup at the moment and the confirmation of Christian Pulisic’s expensive arrival next season another road block to time on the field. It has even seen Victor Moses pushed out, with just two Premier League appearances to his name.

Chelsea can not boast the most stellar record of selling young players, missing out on the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Kevin De Bruyne, and Mohamed Salah after allowing them to leave at young ages, and that could be the case again here with Sarri unable to make room in the squad to keep the teenager happy.