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Sarri: Chelsea own goal was not Ampadu’s fault

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Chelsea coach Maurizio Sarri refused to blame Ethan Ampadu after he put the ball through his own net in their 2-2 Europa League draw at MOL Vidi

The 18-year-old partnered Andreas Christensen in the centre of the Chelsea defence in Budapest on Thursday after just 27 minutes of competitive action this season.

But Ampadu accidentally headed the ball into his own net just two minutes after Willian had put the Blues in front with a 30th-minute free-kick.

However, Sarri defended Ampadu afterwards and stated that the many changes he made to the squad against Vidi meant it was never going to be easy for him.

“The goal was not the fault of Ampadu,” said Sarri on the club website.

“We were zonal marking, and at no point did we touch the ball in advance of the first zone, which is really a very big problem, so it’s not the fault of Ampadu.

“Ampadu played a very good match, especially in a team like this. We need to consider that if Ampadu played in the usual team, it would be easier for him.

“Today we changed 10 players. It’s not easy for the young players to play in a new team like the one in this match.

“I am also very happy with Callum Hudson-Odoi. Of course they need to improve, but they are on the right path.”

Loic Nego’s 56th-minute volley gave Vidi a 2-1 lead before substitute Olivier Giroud’s stunning free-kick saved Chelsea from defeat in their final Group L game.

Now Sarri’s side will turn their focus to Sunday’s trip to Brighton in the Premier League with striker Alvaro Morata currently a doubt after sustaining a knee injury on Thursday.