Sarri wanted to rest Hazard
Maurizio Sarri admitted he wanted to rest Eden Hazard for Chelsea's Europa League 1-0 quarter-final first-leg win at Slavia Prague.
The Blues' head coach conceded that he did not want to use Hazard at the Sinobo Stadium, but the side's lacklustre showing forced his hand in the second half.
Marcos Alonso's late header saved Chelsea's night, with the Blues now expected to complete the job in next week's second leg and reach the semi-finals.
Sarri's men face Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday in a key battle in their bid for a top-four Premier League finish, with Hazard doubtless now not as fresh as originally planned.
Asked if he had always planned to bring Hazard off the bench, Sarri replied: "No, at the beginning of the match I wanted him on the bench because I thought that, probably, the match was really very difficult.
"Probably I'd need to use him. Of course, if at the end of the first half we were 1-0, I wouldn't have used him."
Chelsea failed to gel in a side showing seven changes from Monday's 2-0 league win over West Ham.
Sarri warned his players to expect a testing second leg, despite the Blues being clear favourites to progress.
"We need to think that the second leg will be difficult because these opponents are really very dangerous also away. Like in the round against Genk.
"And so we need to be careful. It's very difficult to face them. Really very difficult.
"I'm really happy with the result. Also with the performance because, in this moment, we are able to suffer. In the past we were not able to suffer in the difficult moments of the match."
Craig Smithson is a journalist with over two decades of experience at the keyboard. A life-long Middlesbrough fan, Craig has an in-depth knowledge of all football and is also a keen fan of boxing amongst other sports.