Maurizio Sarri eased fears over Willian following Wednesday’s disappointing draw with Southampton, revealing the player’s injury was “not really very serious”.
Brazil international Willian was one of Chelsea’s better players before he was forced off in the 37th minute at Stamford Bridge.
The winger collided forcefully with Maya Yoshida and stayed down, then appeared to clutch his hamstring before being replaced by Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
Chelsea have had little luck with injuries of late, with Olivier Giroud, Pedro and Callum Hudson-Odoi all missing the game due to fitness issues, and Willian looked to have been added to that growing list of absentees.
But Sarri is optimistic about his condition and also expects Pedro to be back in action soon.
“Willian’s injury is not really very serious,” the Italian told reporters. “Also for Pedro, in one week he will be able to train with his team-mates.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) January 2, 2019
“In this match it was very difficult because Pedro was out, Giroud was out, Hudson-Odoi was out, after 37 minutes Willian was out as well.
“The doctor said after ten days Giroud can train. The problem is this moment. I think it is better than what we thought after the Crystal Palace match.”
Chelsea struggled to break a resilient Southampton down, but on the few occasions they did craft opening
s, the opportunities were wasted.
Alvaro Morata endured another fruitless outing and Sarri accepts Chelsea have a “problem” in attack.
“I think we played a very good match for 80 metres, then we were in trouble for the last 20 metres,” the coach added. “We created opportunities, not too much, but it’s not easy in this kind of match.
“If you can score the first goal, you can find spaces, so it’s easier. We need to solve the problem of the last 20 metres.
“In the last matches, we were in full control, but it’s not easy in this moment to score the first goal.”
Michy Batshuayi should not be expecting a recall despite Chelsea’s attacking woes, however, as he appears to not be in Sarri’s plans.
“The club knows very well my opinion,” Sarri said when asked if recalling Batshuayi was an option. “I think that we need something different for characteristics.”
Heading home with a point!
— Southampton FC (@SouthamptonFC) January 2, 2019
Southampton handed a Premier League debut to Angus Gunn and the former Manchester City goalkeeper impressed, making six saves and keeping a clean sheet, much to the delight of Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl.
“We knew they [Chelsea] have good deep runs and this ball [over the top] is very hard to defend for our centre backs,” he said.
“He had a lot of situations where he saved the ball. He’s a very talented goalkeeper. I wanted to give him two games. This is the first, and then against Derby County in the FA Cup.”
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