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Barkley & Giroud hail Chelsea’s ‘vital’ win

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Ross Barkley and Olivier Giroud were pleased to help Chelsea bounce back following a narrow 2-1 Europa League win at Malmo FF on Thursday.

The duo scored both of Chelsea’s goals at the Swedbank Stadion in the first leg of their last-32 tie against Swedish side Malmo.

Barkley scored the opener for the Blues in the 30th-minute by poking in Pedro’s cross before some good work in the box by Willian enabled Giroud to backheel the ball into the net for his fifth Europa League goal this season in the second-half.

While Anders Christiansen did grab a late consolation goal for Malmo, Chelsea held on to claim a welcome win following last weekend’s humiliating 6-0 defeat to Manchester City.

“It was important for us to get the result from the weekend behind us and start with a positive today and a win,” Midfielder Barkley told the club website.

“It was vital for us to win today and hopefully it continues. To come away from home and win was the target today and we’re looking forward to the second leg.”

Like manager Maurizio Sarri, French forward Giroud was disappointed over Malmo’s late goal despite scoring for the fourth time in a row in the Europa League.

“We needed to bounce back today so we have done the job, even if we could have scored more goals,’ said Giroud.

“It’s a shame we conceded on the counter-attack but we are happy and we need to finish the job at Stamford Bridge now.

“We didn’t concede many chances but we knew they could be dangerous on the counter-attack and they succeeded with one chance. But it’s in our hands and we want to qualify.

The Blues will return to Stamford Bridge on Monday to take on Manchester United in the fifth round of the FA Cup before hosting Malmo three days later in the return leg of their Round of 32 Europa League clash.