Maurizio Sarri says Chelsea are ‘in trouble’ at the back as they prepare to face Eintracht Frankfurt in their Europa League semi-final first leg.
Chelsea travel to Germany to face the Bundesliga side on Thursday night, though Sarri’s defensive options are limited with both Gary Cahill and Antonio Rudiger sidelined through injury.
Former England international Cahill is out with an Achilles problem, though Sarri hopes to have the veteran back within a week.
“Cahill is out due to a problem with his Achilles tendon,” Sarri said in his pre-match press conference.
“I hope to have him recovered in one week but I don’t know at the moment, I have to speak to the doctor. He has been out for four or five days.
“We are in trouble with the centre-backs. In the last two trainings, we played with Cesar Azpilicueta as a centre-back because I think he is the only other one who can play there. So we are in trouble but this is normal as we have played about 58 games. In the past, we were lucky with injuries but in the last 10 days not.”
Meanwhile, Germany international Rudiger will miss the remainder of the season, having suffered a repeat of a previous knee injury in Sunday’s 1-1 draw at Manchester United.
The 26-year-old first suffered a problem to his left knee in the defeat at Liverpool on April 14, with a recurrence last weekend ruling the centre-back out for at least three months.
“Rudiger is out for at least three months,” he added. “I spoke with him yesterday and of course he is really disappointed but he has to think to return better than before. With serious injury it is very difficult to remain the same, you can be better or worse.
“He is very strong so I think he will be better than before.”
Andreas Christensen is likely to partner David Luiz for Chelsea, though Sarri is confident the 23-year-old is ready to play despite a lack of game time this season.
“Andreas has played 25 matches this season so he is ready,” said Sarri. “I hope he will be very fresh mentally and physically. I am sure he is ready to play in every match so the problem is the number of centre-backs. I am very confident about Andreas because he has played important matches very well.”
Watch Sarri’s full press conference below.