March 6, 2019 / 5:18 PM / 3 months ago

Sarri planning for next season at Chelsea

(Reuters) - Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri is unconcerned by the speculation regarding his future at the club and is already planning for next season, the Italian said on Wednesday.

Soccer Football - Europa League - Chelsea Training - Cobham Training Centre, Cobham, Britain - March 6, 2019 Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri during training Action Images via Reuters/Matthew Childs

Sarri has been feeling the heat at Chelsea after they fell to sixth in the Premier League standings, were knocked out of the FA Cup as holders by Manchester United and lost the League Cup final to Manchester City last month.

“(Speculation) is not a big problem, the problem is the results. The rest is not important in this moment,” Sarri told reporters ahead of Thursday’s Europa League last-16 tie against Dynamo Kiev at Stamford Bridge.

“I was confident in the past, I am confident now but I want to think only about our performances and our results. I want to win for the team, for the club, not for me. So it’s not important.

“We were talking about the programme of the next pre-season. We were trying to organise in the best way the next pre-season.”

Winning the Europa League would give Chelsea an automatic berth in the Champions League group stage next season, but Sarri is looking to qualify directly by finishing in the Premier League’s top four.

The London side, with 56 points, have a game in hand over fellow top-four rivals Manchester United (58 points) and Arsenal (57 points).

“I think we can gain the spot in the Champions League through the Premier League. We’re fighting,” Sarri added.

“We’re only two points (behind) at the moment. We have to play one match (in hand).

“But the Europa League is a very important competition, it’s the second competition in Europe. It’s a very important trophy, and then there is a spot for the next Champions League, so it’s a very important target for us.”

Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis

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