Maurizio Sarri had plenty to talk about in his pre-match press conference ahead of tomorrow night’s Carabao Cup semifinal first leg against Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley, but perhaps the biggest question of the night was how he would address the Callum Hudson-Odoi situation.
As it turns out, very well. With rumors continuing to swirl around the 18-year-old, Maurizio Sarri has lavished him with the most praise he’s ever given the teenager.
“He is a very important player, he is young but improving, especially in the defensive phase. He is improving and I am very happy with him. I don’t know the situation for the club, but for me he is an important player. I don’t think so (moving to Germany to be a good situation). He is an English player, he has a great future here in England, with the national team with Chelsea.“
A couple months ago, Sarri had said that Hudson-Odoi was not yet ready for Premier League action. Thanks to his improvement in the defensive phase (there were no issues with his attacking prowess), that is apparently no longer the case. While Callum will not immediately displace Willian or Pedro (or Hazard), he will be in consideration for Premier League minutes now as well
“He is ready I think. We have very important players in the same position. I can play with only two wingers, I think he is ready. He can play, sometimes he will be on the bench, but now I can consider him the same level [as Pedro and Willian].”
Hopefully we’ll see those words and intentions in action as well (and hopefully before it’s too late to convince Hudson-Odoi to stay at the club).
One thing that might help in that regard is the continuing injury crisis for attacking players at the club. But silver lining aside, missing four first-team players at this crucial juncture of the season is far from an ideal situation.
“We don’t know about Pedro, Willian and Giroud. They are doing better, had training with the team-mates, I don’t know if they can play tomorrow.
“Loftus is out now, we need to know about the situation that has been troubling him.”
With Ruben expected out for at least a month, and the other three not fully fit, others will need to step up, starting with Spurs on Tuesday night. That will likely include Grumpy Morata, who refused to celebrate either one of his two goals on Saturday. Sarri played down that bit of silliness, choosing to concentrate on the possibility that Morata might yet become consistently useful in the second half of the season.
“It is more important to score than celebrate, if he will be able to have a very good second part of the season he will try to reach his best. I don’t know [if he is happy] but I hope so.”
-Maurizio Sarri; source: Football.London
We can only hope that Morata has many more goals to not celebrate this season, starting with tomorrow night’s showdown at Wembley.