In Brief

Europa League final: Baku or bust for Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri?

Italian dismissed the idea that his fate rested on the result against Arsenal

Maurizio Sarri has told reporters he will discuss his future as Chelsea manager once the Uefa Europa League final is done and dusted.

The Blues meet Arsenal in Baku next Wednesday, and for many Chelsea fans defeat against their London rivals should mean the end for Sarri.

The Italian has cut a controversial figure in his first season at Stamford Bridge. Yet for all the criticism from a vocal section of the fans he’s guided them into two finals as well ensuring Champions League football next year courtesy of finishing third in the Premier League.

Happy or not

Sarri was relaxed about the situation when discussing the future with reporters on Wednesday.

“You are either happy with my work or not happy,” he mused. “I have two more years of contract here. I have no contract with any other club at the moment.

“I have to speak to my club after the final. I want to know if they are happy with me or not.”

Asked if he was happy at the Bridge, Sarri replied: “I like the Premier League very much. At the moment it is the most important championship in the world. It is very exciting to be here but now is only the time to think towards the final.”

He dismissed the idea that his fate rested on next week’s result, saying: “If the situation is like that, I want to go immediately because you cannot after ten months of work have to play everything in 90 minutes.”

The Daily Mail, however, claims that the Chelsea board “want to assess the harmony within the first-team dressing-room” before making a decision.

Juventus bound?

He also countered suggestions that Chelsea had had an unsatisfactory season, describing it as “very good”, and claiming there was common ground between his side and Manchester City. “The way they play is not like mine but it is similar,” he said of the treble winners.

Sarri had nothing to say on recent rumours linking him with the Juventus position, vacated last week by Massimiliano Allegri, who stepped aside having won the Italian title in each of his five seasons in charge.

Reports in Italy say that the Milan stock exchange suggests Sarri could soon be on his way to Turin with Juventus shares rising 5.60% on Wednesday afternoon following reports in the press that Juve chiefs “had been in contact” with the Chelsea boss.

Big problem

Reticent on his own future, Sarri was willing to address the speculation linking Eden Hazard to Real Madrid.

“I want to respect his decision,” he said of the Chelsea playmaker. “I hope he will stay with us but we need to be ready if he decides something different.”

As for the decision to host next week’s final in Baku - 2,500 miles from London - Sarri agreed it was a nonsense. “The location is a big problem for our fans,” he said. “I think it was better to be in another location.”

Today’s back pages: ‘back me or sack me now’, says Sarri

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