Maurizio Sarri confirms whether he prioritises top four spot or European glory

Maurizio Sarri

Chelsea travel to Eintracht Frankfurt tonight for the first leg of their Europa League semifinal, with the Blues within touching distance of their first European final since 2013.

However, manager Maurizio Sarri is prioritising the Premier League over European success, preferring a top-four finish to secure Champions League qualification for next season.

Chelsea fans will be pleased by the pragmatic approach their manager is taking, as the easiest way of achieving Champions League football next season will be to finish fourth in the Premier League.

Other managers might take a more optimistic view and declare their intent to win the Europa League and lift silverware.

However, Sarri has made it clear he sees domestic qualification as the Blues’ optimal route into Europe’s elite club competition next season.

“I have a good feeling for this competition, and had one also while at Napoli, but, at the moment, we need to finish in the top four in the Premier League,” Sarri told The Guardian.

“We want to play next season in the Champions League. Of course the Europa League is important – it’s a very important trophy, but we need to think about the Premier League.

“We want to get into the Champions League through the Premier League.”

The straight talk from Sarri is a refreshing sign of a manager who has his priorities in order and is not afraid to share them with the press and the club’s fans.

Although some may strive for the glory of lifting any trophy available, the experienced Italian knows Champions League qualification via the top four is the most important goal for Chelsea.

And with winnable matches against Watford and Leicester to close out the season, the Blues are in good shape to secure their spot, particularly with Arsenal and Manchester United dropping points at this crucial stage of the season.

Chelsea are two points ahead of the Gunners and three clear of the Red Devils with two games remaining.

Should they overcome Eintracht, they will play either Arsenal or Valencia in the Europa League final on May 29 in Baku, Azerbaijan.

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Author: Max Cohen