'It is not the way we want to win the trophy' - Chelsea star critical of his side after Europa League scare

A poor second half at Stamford Bridge continued a worrying trend, says Cesar Azpilicueta.

Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta.
Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta.

CHELSEA DEFENDER CESAR Azpilicueta was critical of his side’s performance against Slavia Prague which saw them advance to the Europa League semi-finals.

The Blues, up 1-0 after the first leg in the quarter-final tie, jumped out to a quick 3-0 advantage over their visitors at Stamford Bridge through Pedro, a Simon Deli own goal and a strike from Olivier Giroud.

While Prague did cut it to 3-1, a second goal from Pedro seemed to salt away the tie just under a half-hour into the contest.

But a poor start to the second-half saw Chelsea concede twice to Petr Sevcik in the 51st and 53rd minute, making it 5-3 on aggregate and leading to a nervy final 40 minutes for Chelsea.

While the Blues ultimately saw out the victory, Azpilicueta was unimpressed with the second half, noting this is something that has plagued the squad this season.

“It is a mistake we are making very often and we are conceding early goals in the second half of games,” Azpilicueta told BT Sport. “We were 4-1 up but they put us in trouble and we were risking it. We were suffering until the end.

“It is not the way we want to win the trophy but we are in the semi-final and hopefully we can get through.”

Manager Maurizio Sarri echoed those sentiments, admitting the squad struggled to begin the second half.

However, Sarri chose to focus more on his team’s success on the evening – dispatching hardworking and difficult opposition to make it to the semi-finals of the competition.

“We started very badly in the second half but I’m really really happy because we played well in the first 45 minutes and we are in a European semi-final which is very important to us,” Sarri told BT Sport.

“We knew very well the match was going to be difficult. They ran a lot and with quality – lot of metres at high speed.”

The Blues will face Eintracht Frankfurt in the semi-finals of the competition with the first leg to come May 1 in Germany and the second leg 8 May at Stamford Bridge.

Gavin Cooney
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Victory in the semi-final would set up a final against either Valencia or an all-England showpiece against London rivals Arsenal in Baku on 29 May.

Gavan Casey and Murray Kinsella are joined by Andy Dunne to preview the Champions Cup semi-finals and all the week’s news on the latest episode of The42 Rugby Weekly:

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