Sarri pleased with win but says Chelsea’s defending must improve

Maurizio Sarri was pleased with Chelsea’s performance against Malmo but admitted they need to cut out the defensive lapses which have blighted their season.

The Blues took a big step towards the last 16 of the Europa League with a 2-1 first-leg win in Sweden.

Ross Barkley and Olivier Giroud scored before a mistake by Andreas Christensen led to a goal for the home side.

Chelsea face Manchester United in the FA Cup on Monday followed by the Carabao Cup final against Manchester City and a crucial Premier League clash with rivals Tottenham.

And Sarri has warned that his side, recently hammered 6-0 at Manchester City and 4-0 at Bournemouth, risk similar thrashings if they continue to defend poorly.

Reflecting on Malmo’s goal, head coach Sarri said: “If we concede a goal like this to a team like Manchester City or United or Tottenham, then you risk conceding three goals in 10 minutes.

“So we have to do better. But I think that the performance was a good performance.”

The win and goals were Chelsea’s first away from home in 2019 and Sarri is now hoping for some consistency as they head into a vital part of the season.

He said: “You know very well that, if you are in bad mental condition in England, in 10 days you can lose three or four very important matches.

“So we need consistency. We have to approach every match in the same way. It’s not easy, but we have to try.”