Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri was unimpressed with Chelsea’s ponderous Europa League performances against Belarusian giants FC BATE Borisov, regardless of a 1-0 win securing the Blue’s passage to the knockout phase of the competition.
Olivier Giroud‘s first goal in 794 minutes of club football was one of few highlights from lethargic performances that could well have cost the Premier League side.
The host were denied by the woodwork three times, including once in stoppage time as they went within inches of securing a point in cold conditions.
Chelsea, at last, clung on to move up affirming their status as group L Leader, in spite of the fact that Maurizio Sarri was left concerned.
“It was very difficult to be dangerous, but we were better in the first 25 minutes of the second half. We didn’t manage the last 15 minutes well.
“The best thing is the result. It wasn’t very easy to play a good game here, with the conditions.”
Giroud’s well-judged header from Emerson Palmieri’s cross in the 52nd minute did provide Sarri with the rarity of two strikers in scoring form following Alvaro Morata’s brace in the weekend win over Crystal Palace.
The goal opened Giroud’s account under the Italian and was his first for Chelsea since May.
“I am pleased for him. He is very important for us,” the Blues boss said.
“I know very well a striker wants to score. For his confidence, it is very important.”
France striker Giroud insisted he lost no belief in his ability during the drought.
“I maybe lacked a bit of efficiency and a bit of luck sometimes, but you always need to keep working hard in training and keep the faith,” the 32-year-old told ‘BT Sport‘. “That’s what I did tonight.”
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