Maurizio Sarri was delighted after seeing his Chelsea side make it through to the last four of the Europa League with a thrilling 4-3 win over Slavia Prague at Stamford Bridge.
Leading 1-0 after the first leg, Chelsea scored three goals in the opening 17 minutes, with Pedro and Olivier Giroud firing home at either side of Simon Deli’s own goal.
The score was 4-1 after just 27 minutes as Tomas Soucek pulled one back, before Pedro got his second of the game as the Blues looked to be cruising into the last four.
After the break, however, it was a totally different game, and a three-minute brace from Petr Sevcik set up a tense finish to the contest.
Despite the scare, Chelsea secured their passage into the semi-finals of the Europa League, 5-3 on aggregate, leaving Maurizio Sarri happy with his side’s first-half performance.
“We started very badly in the second half but I’m really really happy because we played well in the first 45 minutes and we are in a European semi-final which is very important to us,” Sarri told BT Sport.
“We knew very well the match was going to be difficult. They ran a lot and with quality – lot of metres at high speed.”
They will play Eintracht Frankfurt in the last four after the Bundesliga club overturned a 4-2 deficit against Benfica to go through on away goals, and speaking in his post-match press conference, Sarri warned not to expect an easy game against the Germans.
“To reach the final would be great for us but we need to study Eintracht Frankfurt very carefully now because they are a great team with a wonderful striker in Luka Jovic.”