Captaincy issue ‘not so important’ to Sarri

Chelsea have made a fine start under Maurizio Sarri © Steven Paston/PA Wire

Cesar Azpilicueta assumed the captain’s armband again on Thursday night – but Maurizio Sarri still will not confirm his permanent Chelsea skipper.

In fact, the Blues head coach is so unconcerned about the issue he can barely remember who had the armband against PAOK.

Azpilicueta began on the substitutes’ bench but came on and took the captaincy from Willian in the second half as Chelsea began their Europa League campaign with a 1-0 win in Greece.

With Gary Cahill, skipper under Sarri’s predecessor Antonio Conte, out of favour and ready to leave in January if his exile continues, there is intrigue over the captaincy – although not from Sarri, who does not consider the matter important.

Asked whether Azpilicueta was now his permanent captain, the Italian said: “I don’t remember who was the captain at the beginning of the game. Who was the captain? Willian.

“And in the second part, Azpilicueta. I don’t know. I don’t remember. I understand that in England it is important. For me it is not so important.

“I have my idea. I want to speak to the players and I want to speak to my club. It was not possible this week. Maybe it will be possible in the next week.”

Sarri’s side will return to domestic action in a derby at West Ham on Sunday.

Pedro played down concerns after being taken off in stoppage time on Thursday with a shoulder injury, but is a doubt.

Mateo Kovacic has a minor injury and might miss out again.