Under-pressure Chelsea head coach Maurizio Sarri wants to free his players’ minds ahead of Sunday’s Carabao Cup final with Manchester City.
Embarrassing losses at Bournemouth and City – Chelsea’s heaviest defeat in 28 years – plus the negative reaction of supporters in Monday’s FA Cup exit to Manchester United has ensured Sarri’s position is precarious.
Chelsea beat City 2-0 on December 8, but the 6-0 loss came just two weeks prior to the final at Wembley, when Sarri will be seeking the first trophy of his managerial career.
Given the week Chelsea have had – they were unconvincing in beating Malmo in the Europa League on Thursday – Sarri will try for a relaxed build-up.
“We will prepare the match only on Saturday, I think,” he said. “I didn’t like our minds in the first 30 minutes (against Malmo).
“I want to see something more free. So we will prepare the match in 60 minutes, no more. But I think the quantity is not important.”
The quality is. Sarri maintains Chelsea can win despite the humiliating Premier League loss to Pep Guardiola’s men, the holders of the League Cup.
He also pointed to the fact Chelsea are still in contention for two trophies, given the Premier League title is beyond them and they are out of the FA Cup.
Sarri said: “Of course, the Europa League for us is a very important competition. If we are able to win it, we have a spot in the Champions League.
“I am not happy with elimination in the FA Cup, of course. But, on the other hand, I have to say it’s better for us because we have to play fewer matches.
“(In the League Cup) we played at Liverpool, and had two games against Tottenham.
“(It is) important to win the final. Otherwise you are second. I think it’s very important for us because we have to find confidence.”
Kepa Arrizabalaga is a doubt for the game with a hamstring injury, so former City goalkeeper Willy Caballero could deputise.