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Chelsea

Sarri hopeful of triple boost for semi-final

8th January 2019, 08:30 by Chris Rivers

Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri is hopeful Olivier Giroud, Pedro and Willian will be fit for theEFL Cup semi-final first leg trip to Spurs.

The attacking trio all sat out Saturday's FA Cup third round win over Nottingham Forest at Stamford Bridge but have returned to training since then, Sarri indicating they will be given late fitness tests before he decides on his squad for Tuesday's clash at Wembley.

Should either Willian or Pedro miss out then it could mean a start for Callum Hudson-Odoi, who provided the assists for both of Chelsea's goals at the weekend.

Midfielder Mateo Kovacic is likely to return to action after a bout of illness but Ruben Loftus-Cheek is out after being forced off in the win over Forest with a back issue.

Sarri has also played down the possibility of Cesc Fabregas featuring in the semi-final first leg, claiming the Spaniard has a minor calf problem suffered in what was likely his farewell appearance at Stamford Bridge on Saturday ahead of a proposed move to Monaco this month.

Chelsea were completely outplayed by Tottenham in the Premier League meeting between the rivals at Wembley in November but Sarri feels his players have learnt where they went wrong in that game.

"The result was our fault," said Sarri. "Of course they [Tottenham] are a great team, very dangerous, but we could have done better, especially in the first 20 minutes when we were out of the match mentally.

"I saw my players in the dressing room after the match. They were destroyed. They needed only to realise why the match was so bad. It was very easy. The video of the first 15 minutes was clear. There was a big difference in mentality, aggressiveness, determination. It was clear for me and also the players.

"That match was really strange. It was after the international break, and probably we were not able to arrive to the match with the right mentality and focus. It can happen. Now we need to play another match."

This article originated on sportinastorm.com

Chris Rivers is an experienced reporter who closely follows both Arsenal and Wales Rugby Union team. As well as in-depth football and rugby knowledge, Chris is an avid American Football, Formula One and boxing fan.

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