Maurizio Sarri Warns Chelsea Fans Not To Expect Regular Starts For Callum Hudson-Odoi
The second leg of the Europa League tie between Chelsea and Malmo was generally regarded as a damp squib.
The west London club eventually saw out a 3-0 win after a dire first half performance, an aggregate 5-1 score taking Chelsea through to the Last 16 of the competition.
Young Callum Hudson-Odoi, who has had to contend with frantic speculation and humongous bidding trying to prise him away from Chelsea’s clutches of late, gave fans at Stamford Bridge something to cheer about this week, playing the full 90 minutes and popping up with the final goal.
That means in six starts for Hudson-Odoi, he has three goals and three assists.
Therefore, it’s likely, once again, to give manager Maurizio Sarri a bit of a headache in his selection process ahead of the League Cup Final this weekend with the wolves baying at the door.
On Sunday, Chelsea travel north to Wembley to take on a Manchester City side who pulverised them 6-0 just under a fortnight ago.
Fans have been clamouring for the 18-year-old Hudson-Odoi to be part of the Italian’s set-up more regularly, exacerbated by some dire results and his latest performance will certainly have given voice to those calls.
If Hudson-Odoi doesn’t start on Sunday I might walk out (@katsiia)
Callum Hudson-Odoi; this dude is looking like the real deal with each game he plays in a Chelsea jersey. (@alade1997)
How good was Hudson-Odoi yesterday? I’ll tell you - very very very good. (@sorcierbelge)
After last night's performance, if Sarri doesn't start Hudson-Odoi on Sunday, I'm not defending him any more. (@Fentuo)
However, Sarri has said the situation is complicated with the abundance of wingers he currently has at his disposal, and seemed to imply that chances would be few and far between until one of them is offloaded in the near future;
You need to understand that, in the same position, we have Pedro, Willian and [Eden] Hazard,
said Sarri after the defeat of Malmo.
I want to remind you that Callum, with this one (against Malmo), played 14 matches.
“There isn’t in England another 18-year-old player with 14 matches in the first team. So I think that we are using him in the right way at the moment.
“Of course, the 20 matches this season will be 30 matches in the next, and 40 in two years.
“If I am at the club and I want Callum to play consistently, I have to sell another winger. Otherwise the manager is in trouble.”
Hudson-Odoi was himself quite diplomatic in the wake of his imperativeness to Chelsea’s progression in the Europa League;
“I’m happy with the result. We all worked hard and played really well. Our mentality was strong. We paced ourselves and we deserved the win. The goal is a bonus for the work that the team did today. Hopefully I did well and made an impact".
Chelsea versus Manchester City kicks off at 16:30 (GMT), Sunday 24th February.
Hudson-Odoi is currently odds on not to start.
He caps off a brilliant game with a smartly taken goal 👏