Maurizio Sarri does not doubt Roman Abramovich's commitment to Chelsea

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Chelsea head coach Maurizio Sarri.

Maurizio Sarri believes Roman Abramovich is still committed to Chelsea.

Chelsea’s billionaire owner has opted not to pay up front for a corporate hospitality box at Stamford Bridge, as revealed in accounts lodged with Companies House.

Abramovich has taken Israeli citizenship which means he can visit the UK visa-free for up to six months at a time, but cannot work in the country.

The 52-year-old has owned Chelsea since 2003 but recent issues with his UK visa had led to speculation he would seek to sell the club – though head coach Sarri insists Abramovich retains a hands-on role at Stamford Bridge.

“He has some problems now, but he is involved with the club, with the team,” said Sarri.

“He is the owner, and so he is able to influence the technical staff, the club, the players, everything I think.

“Also in Naples (Sarri’s former club), the president Aurelio (De Laurentiis) wasn’t in the training ground every day. He was in the training ground once a month, no more. So it’s really very similar.”

Sarri revealed his assistant Gianfranco Zola speaks more regularly to Abramovich, given the ex-Chelsea forward’s superior English.

Asked how much contact he has with the club’s owner, Sarri said: “More Zola than me. Because Zola speaks English better than me, of course.”

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich.

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich.

Chelsea will host West Ham on Monday night as their bid for a top-four finish in the Premier League intensifies.

Academy graduates Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ruben Loftus-Cheek are expected to play a key part between now and the end of the campaign.

Both young English talents shone in Chelsea’s 3-0 win over Brighton in midweek, but Sarri rejected suggestions he had been urged by club bosses to hand both men more playing time.

Asked if he was under pressure to select Hudson-Odoi and Loftus-Cheek, Sarri replied: “No. It’s up to the players, they are improving.

“In this moment of the season, they are fresh. So I think that, in this moment, they are really very important for us.

“But at the beginning of the season, Odoi had a very great potential but wasn’t ready to play in the Premier League.

“Loftus the same. He had only to adapt to my football, to improve tactically for my football.

“Then he had a lot of problems with his back, and so we had to wait for him. But now they are fresh; they are ready.”

Sarri also confirmed he wants to see France striker Olivier Giroud stay at Chelsea beyond the summer.

The World Cup winner’s contract expires at the end of the season, though Chelsea have the option to extend that deal for another year.

Asked if he wants to hold on to Giroud, Sarri said: “Yes, of course. I know the club have an option for another season, so I think he will remain.”

Provided by Press Association Sports

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Quadruple lives on for Man City as they reach FA Cup final with controversial 1-0 Brighton win

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Pep Guardiola insists it is “almost impossible” for Manchester City to win the quadruple despite keeping that dream alive by beating Brighton to reach the FA Cup final.

City will return to Wembley on May 18 to face Wolves or Watford after Gabriel Jesus’ fourth-minute header sealed a 1-0 victory against Chris Hughton’s well-organised side.

FA Cup glory is now just a win away for Guardiola’s men, who have already wrapped up the Carabao Cup and remain in the Premier League driving seat as they boast a game in hand on leaders Liverpool.

Attention now turns to the Champions League and Tuesday’s quarter-final first-leg clash at Tottenham, but the City boss has tried to downplay growing talk of the quadruple.

“I will announce you something: it’s almost impossible to win the quadruple,” Guardiola said.

“Almost. So, put it in the headlines, guys: ‘Almost impossible to win the quadruple’.

“Surviving in that stage with all competitions is already a miracle, so it’s nice to be there.

Kyle Walker didn't see red despite seemingly aiming a headbutt at Alireza Jahanbakhsh.

Kyle Walker didn’t see red despite seemingly aiming a headbutt at Alireza Jahanbakhsh.

“(Being in contention still) is why it is incredible what these players have done last season when you achieve 100 points. Not Liverpool, not Manchester City can repeat that.

“The year after, when you have the tendency to be a little bit more arrogant or a little more presumptuous or think something like that, really you are not.

“And still we are there, so that’s why it’s incredible what these players have done so far.

“Every game we lose players but that is normal when you play a lot of games. But we are going to try until the end, every game.”

Guardiola is hoping that Sergio Aguero will be fit when City take on Tottenham as the absent striker is “much, much better” after a muscle issue, but Kyle Walker looks a doubt to face his former club.

The right-back was caught up in controversy during the first half after a coming together with Brighton’s Alireza Jahanbakhsh, but avoided a red card following a Video Assistant Referee review.

Walker was taken off at half-time, but Guardiola insists it was injury-related.

“I didn’t see it,” Guardiola said of the incident with Jahanbakhsh. “What I saw and the people tell me he didn’t touch.

“No (I didn’t bring him off because he was on a yellow card), he had problems in the back, in the hamstring, he could not run.”

Brighton counterpart Hughton has seen the incident back three or four times and was disappointed that Walker was not sent off.

“In my opinion, it was a red card,” Hughton said. “We ask the players to be honest.

“Alireza doesn’t make a big meal of it. We certainly would have seen in the past players clutching their head, rolling on the floor, so I don’t think he makes a big deal of it.

“But certainly if I look at the action, which I have done, there would have been numerous circumstances where that exact same action would have got somebody a red card.

“I think there was sufficient force in the action to warrant that.”

Asked if the unsuccessful VAR review made it all the more galling, the Albion boss said: “Yes, because I think we’re at a stage now where everybody is pushing for it.

“I’m probably one that has been converted a little bit and I am still not sure how far it is going to take us.

“But, yes, I’m even more disappointed with the fact this was a VAR (decision).”

But amid the natural disappointment of losing a second ever FA Cup semi-final was pride in Brighton’s display.

“I am incredibly proud,” Hughton said. “After conceding after three minutes I don’t think there was anyone in the stadium that thought the second wasn’t going to come.

“We hung in and to go through the 90 minutes and, apart from the goal, I struggle to think of a real clear chance.

“That wouldn’t have happened often, if at all, to them this season.”

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Mesut Ozil receives Arsenal boss Unai Emery's green light to start away games

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Arsenal boss Unai Emery believes Mesut Ozil is now ready to start away games for the Gunners.

The German midfielder has not been an immune figure in Arsenal’s starting line-up this season. In fact, his last start in an away fixture was when Arsenal visited Brighton on Boxing Day.

Emery claimed that there was no right moment to start him ever since and the reasons were plenty.

“Sometimes it was because we needed something different, sometimes it was because he was injured,” he said, according to Goal.

“Now he is OK, he is training every day. He can play with two systems, 4-2-3-1 which maybe for him is the best, but sometimes we are playing 4-3-1-2 and he is playing like a team player. Also sometimes 3-4-1-2. Sometimes he can also play on the right side or the left.

“For me, the most important thing is for him to be ready, to be available to us, to help or play and he is now in this way.”

Emery added: “He’s working very well, playing very well, he’s helping us. I’m very happy with him. I think the team has a good atmosphere, good spirit with each player helping us with their qualities and good behaviour.

“That’s the spirit I want, they are doing that, and Mesut is like the others [in that regard].”

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