Maurizio Sarri was relieved to see Chelsea advance in the Europa League but was disappointed with the performance against BATE Borisov. Olivier Giroud’s first Chelsea goal since May, and 794 minutes of playing time, earned a 1-0 victory and a fourth win from four Group L games.
The Blues remained unbeaten in 17 competitive games this season, qualifying for the last 32 with two matches to spare, but it was a tough night for Sarri, who was also struggling with sickness. “I was in trouble,” Sarri said. “I had fever. It was a very hard day for me. I don’t know if I am improving or if it is only the temperature.”
Freezing fog in Borisov contributed to an underwhelming display, and Sarri was just happy to leave with the three points. “The best situation is the result. We didn’t play very well,” Sarri added.
“It wasn’t very easy to play a good game here. There was all the conditions to play very badly, for the cold, for the opponents, for the pitch, for everything. I think we could have done better. “I didn’t like the first half. We moved the ball only horizontal and slowly. It was really very difficult to be dangerous.
“Better in the first 20, 25 minutes in the second half. Then we managed not really very well the last 15 minutes.”
Sarri was also happy to see Giroud get on the scoresheet, adding: “I’m pleased for him. He’s a very important player for us, because he’s a very, very useful player for the team.
“But I know very well strikers want to score. And so for his confidence I think it’s very important. But, I don’t want him to be worried about scoring, because for us he’s very important, very useful.”