Maurizio Sarri has admitted the result could determine whether the Europa League final becomes the most pivotal match of his managerial career.
Taskmaster Italian coach Sarri will lead Chelsea into Wednesday’s second-tier European final against Arsenal in Baku with his Stamford Bridge future still in doubt.
The former Napoli coach pledged to ignore rumours linking him with a summer move to Juventus, insisting he loves Chelsea’s players and will factor that into any decisions about his future.
Derby boss Frank Lampard has been linked with a Chelsea move should Sarri leave west London and – despite swatting away speculation – the current Blues boss conceded that Wednesday night’s outcome could very well map out his Stamford Bridge future.
Asked if the Europa League final represents the biggest moment of his life, Sarri replied: “I don’t know. I don’t know. Because the feeling from the coach between a coach and a journalist is different.
“Of course this match for the media is the most important of my life, but probably not for me.
“I will only be able to answer possibly tomorrow.
“Probably a match in Serie B was more important for me. Tomorrow I will be able to answer.
“The beginning of the season was really very difficult for me to understand my players, the mentality.
“But after a very difficult month in January, in February they started to change. I think, probably I changed, I don’t know.
“In this moment I love them, because I have 20, 22 wonderful men and wonderful players. So now I am really very happy with them.
“And of course I have to consider it for the future. And I have to consider that I love English football, I love the Premier League.”
Asked if he could end up at Juventus next season, Sarri added: “I want to think only to the final of course, then I have a contract with Chelsea for two years.
“So first of all I will speak with Chelsea, but this is not the moment. Now we have only to think to the final.”
Chelsea head into Wednesday’s match still sweating over midfielder N’Golo Kante’s fitness.
Boss Sarri insisted he would give Kante as much time as possible to prove his fitness, but only rated the France star as “50-50” on Tuesday evening.
Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic and Ross Barkley will start should Kante miss out.
“Kante had a very little problem with his knee,” said Sarri. “The problem is the timing, because we have only four days. We are trying. It’s not really a very serious injury.
“We have the problem of the three, four days to try to recover him. But at the moment we don’t know. We will try, until the last moment.
“So we will try tomorrow, but we don’t know at the moment. I think he is 50-50 at the moment. Yesterday, 60-40 against, and now today 50-50. He was a little bit better this morning.
“We are in trouble with the midfield. At the moment we have only three midfielders for three positions. So we are in trouble.
“For us N’Golo really is very important. He is the only defensive midfielder that we have. So for us Kante is really very important, we are trying to recover him.
“We’ll try tomorrow morning. I hope to recover him because I know without N’Golo for us is a problem.”
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