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Sarri furious over Chelsea’s US friendly before final

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Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri is unhappy over the post-season friendly they have coming up in the United States just before the Europa League final.

After finishing 2-2 on aggregate with Eintracht Frankfurt in their semi-final tie on Thursday night, Chelsea reached the final following a 4-3 penalty shoot-out victory.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek had put Chelsea ahead in the second-leg at Stamford Bridge in the 28th-minute. But the ever-impressive Luka Jovic equalised for Eintracht just four minutes after the break.

The match went into extra-time, where Chelsea were lucky not to have conceded after David Luiz and Davide Zappacosta twice denied Sebastian Haller’s efforts off the goalline.

Although Blues captain Cesar Azpilicueta did have a goal ruled out after the referee decided he had taken the ball off Frankfurt keeper Kevin Trapp’s hands. Therefore, the two sides were forced to settle for a 1-1 second leg draw.

Nevertheless, Hazard scored the winning penalty to set-up an all-London final with  Arsenal in Baku on May 29. The Gunners defeated Valencia at the Mestalla on the same night to book their spot.

It turns out, however, Chelsea preparations have suffered a blow due to a planned friendly in the USA.

Sarri’s side will take on New England Revolution in Massachusetts on May 15 at the Gillette Stadium, which had been arranged in March for charity.

“Unfortunately we have to go to the United States but we have 10 days to prepare for the final and we have to recover energy,” Sarri told BT Sport.

On the match itself, he said:  “I think we played a very good first half and then we got into trouble after the break. We conceded a goal in 10 minutes of panic.

“We were better in the last part of the match but we were tired in extra time and it was difficult.

“We started with three injuries and picked up two more during the match after we lost Andreas Christensen and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, so it wasn’t easy but we are now in the final.”

When asked if Chelsea practised for a shoot-out, Sarri replied: “No preparation for penalties because you can do well in the training ground.

“But then the pressure is different so you need a great personality and great character. So, I think that it’s useless to practice penalties.”

LONDON, ENGLAND – MAY 09: Gonzalo Higuain of Chelsea and teammates run to celebrate winning the penalty shoot out during the UEFA Europa League Semi Final Second Leg match between Chelsea and Eintracht Frankfurt at Stamford Bridge on May 09, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)