Chelsea’s Callum-Hudson Odoi is set to miss the rest of the season after rupturing his Achilles tendon in the 2-2 draw against Burnley on Monday night.
The 18-year-old was taken off four minutes before half-time after landing awkwardly while attempting to control a dropping ball and was replaced by Pedro Rodriguez.
N’Golo Kante and Gonzalo Higuain blasted two goals in as many minutes for the Blues, but poor set-piece defending allowed Jeff Hendrick and Ashley Barnes to score respond for the Clarets.
Head coach Sarri’s men did move fourth in the table courtesy of their draw, but dropping two points at home could prove costly in the Champions League race.
“Really gutted to end my season with a ruptured Achilles, gotta work hard and try and come back stronger for next season!” Hudson-Odoi tweeted.
The Englishman has played 24 times for the Blues this term and made his international debut in the 5-0 victory against Czech Republic last month.
Hudson-Odoi’s injury adds uncertainty to what will be a summer of speculation about his future at Stamford Bridge, with Bayern Munich heavily linked to signing him.
Head coach Sarri refused to talk to the media after Chelsea’s lacklustre home draw with the Clarets, incensed at being sent off and claiming he was abused by the visiting coaching team.
Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger and Burnley goalkeeping coach Billy Mercer had to be separated by the officials at the final whistle, as a gripping encounter ended in ugly touchline scenes at Stamford Bridge.
David Luiz and Ashley Westwood then clashed as the teams left the field, and that after Gonzalo Higuain had thrown a bottle into the dugout in a petulant response to being replaced late on.
To make the night worse for Chelsea, England forward Callum Hudson-Odoi later confirmed on social media that he will miss the rest of the season with a ruptured Achilles tendon.
Asked if Chelsea will contact the FA over Sarri’s frustrations, Zola said: “I think there will be a follow (up) on that. Maurizio felt very unhappy.
“We understand it’s a football game. You say words because of the adrenaline, but he wasn’t particularly happy.
“If Maurizio said that, probably it’s something that could have been avoided.”
Explaining why he attended the press conference and not Sarri, Zola continued: “The reason is he’s very frustrated, so he’d prefer not to come over here.
“He’s been sent off. I think he’s been offended as well, so he didn’t feel it was the right thing to do, to speak to you.
“I know you wanted him, so I’m sorry. But you can understand: he’s frustrated at the game, frustrated at being sent off, and the other thing. He’d prefer not to come in.
“I think he’s been told something from their bench, but don’t ask me what; I don’t want to go down that line.
“We’ll see what we can do about that.
“It’s a football game, and it’s normal that there is a lot of passion in it.
“We felt very unhappy, and also that Maurizio has been sent off while he was just trying to tell our players to get in position.”
N’Golo Kante and Gonzalo Higuain blasted two goals in as many minutes for the Blues, but poor set-piece defending let Jeff Hendrick and Ashley Barnes plunder goals for the Clarets.
Zola expects Kante to recover quickly from a “contusion” to his ribs, but Hudson-Odoi’s season is at an end.
The 18-year-old will miss England’s Nations League exploits this summer and Chelsea’s final push for a top-four Premier League finish and Europa League glory.
“Really gutted to end my season with a ruptured Achilles, got to work hard and try to come back stronger for next season,” Hudson-Odoi posted on twitter.
Chelsea blew a big chance to stake a strong claim for Champions League qualification, leaving Zola admitting it was an opportunity missed.
“Certainly with three points it would have been a different story,” said Zola.
“We still gained a point on the other teams though, and we will not give up until the end.”
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James Milner admits he will become a Manchester United supporter for the first time as Liverpool hope for an advantage in the Premier League title race.
Milner counts United’s three great rivals – Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester City – on a 17-year playing CV that has seen him rack up more than 600 senior games.
But the 33-year-old midfielder will put history to one side in the Manchester derby on Wednesday when City meet United at Old Trafford.
The derby is City’s game in hand on Liverpool and victory will restore their one-point lead at the top with three matches of the season remaining.
“First time in my life,” Milner said about his support for United this week.
“But I won’t be watching. It’s a bit of a waste of energy, willing the ball in the other goal.
“I can’t do anything about it. I’ll maybe put my phone away for a few hours and check it after.
“I’ve no idea what I’ll do, maybe go out for some food.”
Liverpool maintained their challenge for a first domestic title since 1990 with a 2-0 victory at Cardiff on Sunday.
Milner converted a late penalty to score his seventh goal of the season and secure a precious three points.
Liverpool have relegated Huddersfield and Wolves to play at home and Newcastle away.
City’s remaining fixtures are at United, Burnley and Brighton and at home to Leicester.
On City’s run-in, Milner said: “There’s three games left after that (United).
“People think United is a challenge, but it’s not the only one.
“It’s an old cliche, but the Premier League is tough – whoever you play, teams battling at the bottom.
“Go back to QPR (when Milner won the title at Man City on the final day) and it’s not easy when you’re playing to win a league title.
Liverpool’s win at Cardiff was their 27th from 35 games and set a new Premier League points record for the club.
The Reds now have 88 points, two more than Rafael Benitez’s side managed 10 years ago in finishing runners-up to Manchester United.
“We just need to win the rest of our games,” Milner said.
“If we do that and it’s not good enough then you have to hold your hands up and say ‘well done City’.
“They are a top team, they have done it before and are grinding it out.
“It’s frustrating to think we’ve had one defeat all year and it might not be enough.
“But all we can do is win the rest of our games and put them under pressure.”
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