After guiding his team to an outstanding victory in the Europa League final, Maurizio Sarri hailed his players’ bravery as well as the quality of their football in the decisive second half.
It had been a tight and tense first 45 minutes in Baku. Arsenal started the more threatening but Sarri’s side grew into proceedings and finished the stronger.
Coming out strongly after the interval has not always been our forte this season, but tonight in Baku we were electric when play restarted, blitzing Arsenal with three goals in 16 minutes. The boss revealed what he had told his players.
‘My feeling at the end of the first half was that the match was very difficult,’ Sarri said.
‘It was our 64th match of the season and it was hot on the pitch, very difficult to play physically. My feeling from the bench was that we were trying to manage the result. At half-time I asked my players to play with more courage, even if it meant risking to lose.
‘I wanted my team to move the ball better, and the players did it very well in the second half. We played very good football against a very difficult opponent, who are dangerous in the offensive phase and from counter-attacks. We played very good football and the match was good also for the fans I think.’