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Sarri preaches importance of Chelsea beginning Europa League campaign with win over PAOK

Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri reckons it is crucial his side get their Europa League campaign off to a winning start tonight away to Greek side PAOK Salonika.

Blues coach Sarri has spent plenty of time studying tonight’s opponents and he is expecting a difficult game in Northern Greece.

“Our target is first of all to qualify, and then to qualify in first spot in our group. So, in order to win our group, the match tomorrow is the most important in the group because it’s the most difficult match,” Sarri told Chelsea’s official website.

“My players are professionals. They must be able to play in every situation. I am worried about the opponent because they are a very good team, not about the atmosphere in the stadium.

“I have seen the four matches played by PAOK in the Champions League play-offs. My staff have seen the matches of the Greek championship. I think I know everything.

“We want to play with our characteristics, to control the match with our ball possession, but I know tomorrow will be difficult. They are a good team. They have won against Basel, Spartak Moscow, they drew against Benfica in Portugal. We have to do a very good match if we want to gain points.”

Chelsea’s other opponents in Group L of the Europa League MOL Vidi and BATE Borisov also begin their European campaigns tonight.