Maurizio Sarri has told Chelsea fans and the media they are putting too much pressure on Callum Hudson-Odoi and that he is simply too young to be a top-class player at this stage of his career.
Blues supporters want Hudson-Odoi to be given more game time and chanted for the youngster to be brought on against Dynamo Kiev long before he was eventually introduced.
He scored the third goal in a 3-0 first-leg win at Stamford Bridge, where Chelsea took a big step towards the quarter-finals of the Europa League.
However, in his post-match press conference, there was no backing down from Sarri on the issue of his limited use of the 18-year-old.
He said: “In my opinion, a player at 18 years old cannot be at the top. He needs to improve because he will be able to arrive to the top only at 22 or 23 years old, like every other player.
“So now I think that we need (him) to improve without the pressure of the media and without the pressure of the fans.
“He is in my mind for every match. I think that in England he is the only (player born in) 2000 with 16 matches in the first team. He is the only one.
“I think to have this pressure when you are 18 is very dangerous for a player. You can lose the target – when you are 18 the target is to improve.
“It’s dangerous for him. And I don’t like to speak about him for this reason.”
But Sarri reiterated that Hudson-Odoi is very much in his plans.
“He doesn’t need to do anything to convince me because I am already convinced he is a very great player,” Sarri said.