Chelsea train ahead of key Europa League clash as Zidane waits in wings to replace under-fire Sarri


MAURIZIO SARRI took Chelsea training this morning with the cloud of Zinedine Zidane looming overhead.

The Blues boss is under immense pressure and, as SunSport revealed, has the very real threat of being replaced before the end of the season.


Under-pressure Maurizio Sarri watched over Chelsea training ahead of the Europa League clash with Malmo on Thursday[/caption]


Sarri chatted with David Luiz as he made his way to the training field at Cobham[/caption]

The Blues board has been in discussion over whether the faltering Italian should be replaced by three-time Champions League Zidane.

Chelsea trained at Cobham ahead of flying out to Sweden for the crucial Europa League clash against Malmo on Thursday night.

Because of the Blues’ poor league form, Chelsea have slipped from fourth to sixth in the last couple of weeks, the competition gives the club another potential route into the Champions League next season.

Should they win it, it won’t matter if Chelsea finish outside of the top four.


The Italian will have plenty on his mind amid news that the Blues boardroom are considering a move for Zinedine Zidane[/caption]


Sarri watches his Chelsea players in action[/caption]


Eden Hazard is expected to start with Sarri to name a strong team for the match[/caption]


With Premier League form faltering, the Europa League presents another avenue to Champions League qualification[/caption]

Under-fire Sarri used the Europa League group stages to play fringe first-teamers like Davide Zappacosta, Andreas Christensen, Gary Cahill and Olivier Giroud.

But he is expected to now expected to name a strong line-up after the humiliating 6-0 defeat to Manchester City on Sunday.

Eden Hazard, who started just one game in the group stage, is expected to start.

Talented teen Callum Hudson-Odoi could also be handed a rare start after recovering from illness, while fellow 18-year-old Ethan Ampadu may start at the base of the midfield ahead of Jorginho.


Callum Hudson-Odoi (left) could make a rare start after recovering from illness[/caption]


Gonzalo Higuain is NOT cup tied for the match despite playing in the group stage for Milan[/caption]


Club captain Gary Cahill has not played for Chelsea since November[/caption]


Ross Barkley could keep his place in the team despite a poor showing against Man City[/caption]


Andreas Christensen has started every Europa League game so far this season and is expected to start[/caption]

Gary Cahill, who has not played since facing PAOK Salonika in November and was close to leaving in January but was still one of the first players onto the pitch.

As was Danny Drinkwater – the former Leicester midfielder has not played all season but has a tendon injury.

Hazard, who continues to be linked with a move to Real Madrid, insisted his philosophy on football is the same as Sarri’s.

The Belgian told the Chelsea club website: “All the managers I’ve played for have given me something.

PA:Press Association

Hazard sprints through a drill during the session at Cobham[/caption]


Ruben Loftus-Cheek is another who could be recalled to the starting XI[/caption]

PA:Press Association

Callum Hudson-Odoi has been frustrated by a lack of game time this season and is wanted by Bayern Munich[/caption]

“From when I started with Claude Puel at Lille to now with Maurizio Sarri.

“They all see football in different ways, which is why I’m the player I am.

“They have all given me important advice.

“[Jose] Mourinho was special, but the way Sarri and [Rudi] Garcia like to play is more like my philosophy of football.”


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