March 14, 2019 / 7:39 AM / 10 days ago

Chelsea's Sarri unhappy with sorry state of Kiev pitch

Soccer Football - Europa League - Chelsea Press Conference - NSC Olympiyskiy, Kiev, Ukraine - March 13, 2019 Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri during a press conference REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

(Reuters) - Chelsea Maurizio Sarri has expressed unhappiness with the pitch at Kiev’s NSC Olympic Stadium ahead of his team’s Europa League last-16 second leg tie later on Thursday.

Chelsea, who won last week’s first leg in London 3-0, trained at the stadium on Wednesday.

“The pitch is not good and I think that it’s really dangerous to play any football here. It’s really very dangerous for injuries,” Sarri told reporters.

“I don’t know the reason, probably winter, because I played here two years ago and the pitch was wonderful (but it is now) very, very dangerous.”

The NSC Olympic Stadium hosted last season’s Champions League final between Real Madrid and Liverpool, which the Spanish side won 3-1.

Sarri, who was in charge of Napoli when the Italian side beat Dynamo 2-1 at the stadium during the 2016-17 Champions League group stages, also criticised UEFA for not paying more attention to player welfare.

“I don’t understand why UEFA gives so much attention to everything like the players’ list... and then we have to play in such a bad pitch,” the 60-year-old said. “It’s a problem for us but also for our opponents.”

Striker Gonzalo Higuain has not travelled due to illness while teenage winger Callum Hudson-Odoi is likely to start, the manager added.

Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru

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