Maurizio Sarri explained the reason for Gonzalo Higuain’s absence from the squad as Chelsea take on Dynamo Kyiv in the Round of 16 of the UEFA Europa League.
Chelsea are coming into the second leg of their Round of 16 tie against Dynamo Kyiv with a 3-0 advantage from the home leg. But, they will be wary of the threat of a potential comeback, something Maurizio Sarri highlighted upon during his pre-match conference as Chelsea aim to make the Quarter-Finals of the UEFA Europa League.
Willy Caballero should get a start in goal, with Kepa Arrizabalaga likely to be rested for the tie. The back four from the 3-0 win over Dynamo Kyiv in the first leg should be retained, with Davide Zappacosta, David Luiz, Andreas Christensen and Marcos Alonso making up the numbers in defence.
The midfield should also see different faces. Jorginho should be rested while Mateo Kovacic’s inconsistent performances could see a chance being afforded to Ruben Loftus-Cheek, especially with Ross Barkley one yellow card away from accruing a suspension. N’Golo Kante should be the only first-choice midfielder to retain his place.
One of the major news in attack is the absence of Gonzalo Higuain. The striker was left out of the traveling squad and Sarri touched upon his absence in the pre-match conference.
“He had a fever after the league match for two days. Yesterday in the evening with the doctor we decided to leave him at home in order to recover him for the next match.”
While there is no certainty of Callum Hudson-Odoi being offered a start, Maurizio Sarri hinted at the winger’s involvement, stating that he hopes the players, including the youngsters like Hudson-Odoi, are able to gauge the importance of the fixture, if they start or come on to the pitch at any given time.
“I have a lot of players of course. I know very well for you Hudson-Odoi is the best, for me I want to see all of them at the same level. Hudson-Odoi is doing very well in the last period, he will be in the list of 18 for sure, maybe on the pitch, I don’t know at this moment.”
Sarri added,“I want to send to my team the message the match is very important. I don’t want to make a mistake in this. In the last match Hudson-Odoi was the first change so you know very well he is in mind for every match.”
With Higuain absent, Olivier Giroud should start upfront. Pedro ought to complete the lineup, with Hudson-Odoi on the left.