Sarri concerned about Azpilicueta’s fitness

Maurizio Sarri has admitted being “a bit worried” about Cesar Azpilicueta after being unable to rest him for Chelsea’s Europa League win against Malmo.

Sarri took the right-back off late in the game but would have left him out of the side had Davide Zappacosta been fit to play.

Zappacosta was ruled out through illness, so the ever dependable Azpilicueta was therefore selected.

Speaking at a press conference ahead of the Carabao Cup final against Manchester City, Blues head coach Sarri was asked if his substitutions against Malmo reflected a desire to rest players for Sunday’s game at Wembley.

Sarri replied: “For sure for Kante. And I was a little worried about Azpilicueta because I wanted Zappacosta on the pitch for but he had fever so it was impossible for him to play.

“I tried to take Azpi and Kante off for 20 minutes. My feeling from the bench was that Barkley was more tired that Kovacic.”

Sarri also revealed that he plans to spend no more than an hour preparing his players for this weekend’s match.

He said: “I don’t want to press them. I want them to play with free minds.

“We will prepare for the match on Saturday. I want to see something more free. So we will prepare for the match in 60 minutes, no more.”

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