LONDON — Eden Hazard will not feature for Chelsea against BATE Borisov in the Europa League on Thursday and faces a battle to be fit for Sunday’s trip to Burnley in the Premier League, head coach Maurizio Sarri has confirmed.
The Belgian walked off the Stamford Bridge pitch clutching his back and grimacing after Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Manchester United.
Sarri was always likely to rest Hazard for the visit of BATE to Stamford Bridge as he rotates his team for the Europa League, but the Italian also said that his superstar’s participation at Turf Moor is in doubt.
“Tomorrow he is out for sure,” Sarri said of Hazard. “He has a back problem. We are trying to solve the problem for Sunday. It’s not very easy.”
There were claims that Hazard had been targeted for rotational fouling by Jose Mourinho’s men at Stamford Bridge — but Sarri just said he felt it was the nature of the Premier League.
“I don’t know,” he replied when asked about these accusations. “I like very much English football also for that, so I don’t know.
“It’s normally the same questions with [Lionel] Messi, with [Cristiano] Ronaldo. I’ve got no problem with Manchester United’s [approach].”
The other narrative to emerge from the United game relates to Sarri’s assistant Marco Ianni, who was charged with improper conduct by the Football Association after sparking a tunnel fracas with Mourinho by celebrating Ross Barkley’s 96th-minute equaliser provocatively in front of the United bench.
Sarri and Ianni both apologised to Mourinho for his actions immediately after the match, and Chelsea’s head coach reiterated that he is confident his assistant will learn from his mistake regardless of how he is sanctioned by the FA.
“First of all, as I said after the match, we were wrong,” Sarri said. “I was there when Marco spoke to Mourinho and he said sorry immediately. It was very important that he realised he was wrong so I want to give him another opportunity. I know that he was really sorry and he realised it was a mistake.
“Everybody can make a mistake but you need to learn from a mistake. I think he will be able to do it. I know him very well so I am sure. About the FA, I don’t know. I have not experienced it here and I don’t know the consequence. We were wrong and have to accept the consequences.
“If I want to give him another opportunity it will be a full opportunity, but I don’t know, I want to accept the decision of the FA and then we will decide.”
Asked if he could remember a specific mistake he had made and learned from during his time as a coach in Italy, Sarri replied: “There are 100, I think.”
Sarri is set to make significant changes to his team for the BATE match, confirming that Jorginho will be rested and that Andreas Christensen will start.
Aside from Hazard, the only confirmed injury absentee is Ethan Ampadu, who remains sidelined for the next week or two with a knee problem.