Chelsea picked up a 2-1 away victory over the Swedish outlet Malmo FF on Thursday evening, drastically increasing their chances of reaching the Europa League round of 16
Ross Barkley broke the deadlock in the 30th minute, placing a low shot in the bottom-left corner of the net, while Olivier Giroud scored a routine tap-in to put clear daylight between the sides.
However, a lapse in concentration cost the Premier League giants a cheap goal notched by Anders Christiansen in the 80th minute, which could make the return leg a bit more complicated than Maurizio Sarri initially expected.
Disappointed with the way his team gave the hosts a glimpse of home, Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta has warned his teammates to stay focused ahead of next week’s clash in London.
“It was a tough defeat last Sunday, but we are in the knockout stage and it’s important to start well,” he told BT Sport.
Cesar Azpilicueta said Chelsea should have won by a greater margin at Malmo after only securing a 2-1 victory in the first leg of their last-32 Europa… https://t.co/mVcHIvYBxS— Primetweets (@Primetweets_PT) February 15, 2019
“We had chances to have a more comfortable result, but they scored and there is still a lot to play for next week.
“In the second half, we had whole control of the game and had a lot of chances. It’s frustrating to concede a goal and not to have a better result. It’s still all to play for.
“This tournament is very important, we are fighting for trophies and to be in the top four. We are in the EFL Cup final [against City] next week, every trophy is important.”
Nonetheless, the most important thing for Maurizio Sarri is that his team immediately bounced back after a horror 6-0 loss to Manchester City last weekend.
The Blues won’t have much time to celebrate, as they tackle an in-form Manchester United in the FA Cup last-16 clash that will take place at Stamford Bridge on Monday.