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Sarri fully aware of what derby with Tottenham means to Chelsea

Sarri fully aware of what derby with Tottenham means to Chelsea
By PA Sport

07/01/2019 at 21:30Updated 07/01/2019 at 22:47

The Italian insists he felt the importance of the tie following defeat at Wembley.

Maurizio Sarri fully understood the gravity of Chelsea’s derby with Tottenham after observing his “destroyed” players following November’s loss at Wembley.

Chelsea conceded twice in the opening 16 minutes as Spurs inflicted Sarri’s first competitive defeat, ending an 18-match unbeaten run.

Sarri afterwards bemoaned his side’s attitude, but he could see the disappointment in the Wembley changing room, which may drive his players in Tuesday night’s Carabao Cup semi-final first leg.

“I saw my players in the dressing room after the match. They were destroyed,” Sarri said.

“I realised the real situation. I realised that the match against Tottenham is a very important match for the club, the fans and the players.

“So, of course, now, for me, this match is more important. Now I think I know everything, so I think I will be ready and I hope the same for my players.”

Mauricio Pochettino

Sarri and Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino are seeking the first major trophies of their careers.

The Italian, who is 60 this week, pointed to Pochettino having been at Tottenham since May 2014 and agreed that the Argentine needs to win a trophy to prove his managerial pedigree.

Sarri, who was appointed last July, added: “He is a very good coach, one of the best at the moment, I agree he has to win a trophy, I hope not this (one).”

Sarri also highlighted the time it has taken Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp and Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola to develop successful teams, adding: “To build up a very important team you need time.”

The Carabao Cup trophy

Sarri even compared the much-derided League Cup with the Champions League, given the calibre of opposition in Chelsea’s way.

The Blues beat Liverpool in the third round and could play Manchester City in the final, if they beat Spurs. City play Burton in the second semi-final.

Sarri, whose side also beat Derby and Bournemouth to reach the last four, added: “It is like to play in the Champions League, I think, for the League Cup.

“Here (in England) everything is really, really very difficult. The level of opponent is a really high level.”