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Chelsea in defensive crisis for Europa semis – Sarri

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Manager Maurizio Sarri said Chelsea are “in trouble” with their defence for their Europa League semi-final first leg at Eintracht Frankfurt.

Antonio Rudiger has undergone knee surgery while fellow defender Gary Cahill has suffered an Achilles injury.

Chelsea now have just two fit centre-backs, although full-back Cesar Azpilicueta can cover there.

“We are in trouble with the centre-backs,” said Sarri. “We hope to recover him [Cahill] in one week.”

David Luiz and Andreas Christensen are set to start in the centre of defence but Sarri confirmed that Azpilicueta has played there during the Blues’ last two training sessions “just in case” he is needed.

Willian also trained having suffered “only a knock” in Sunday’s 1-1 draw at Manchester United.

“We’ve played 58 matches so injuries are typical,” Sarri said. “We were lucky previously but not in the last 10 days.

“Christensen has played about 25 matches during the season so he is ready. I hope he will be very fresh, mentally and physically. I am really confident with Andreas.

“He’s played very important matches very well so he isn’t the problem. The problem is the numbers.”

Sarri added that he would prefer to qualify for next season’s Champions League by clinching a top-four finish in the Premier League rather than having to rely on winning the Europa League.

The Italian said: “The Europa League is a very important trophy. But we want to get to the Champions League through the Premier League. It’s very difficult to arrive in the top four in the Premier League.”

Sky Sports

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