Sarri announces hero Giroud ‘very important’ for Chelsea, while Real Madrid midfielder sent Blues warning

Maurizio Sarri has revealed that Olivier Giroud remains a very important member of the Chelsea side after his hat-trick in the Europa League.

The Frenchman has had to play second fiddle to Gonzalo Higuaín since his arrival from AC Milan in the January transfer window, as Sarri prefers the Argentine striker in his attack after working with the forward during his time at Napoli.

However, Giroud showed Sarri just what he can do when given a chance in the Chelsea side by scoring an impressive hat-trick against Dynamo Kiev in the Europa League on Thursday night to help Chelsea reach the quarter-finals with an 8-0 aggregate win.

He said: “In the last period, every time he has been on the pitch, he was able to play really very well. He has scored nine goals in this competition.

“Olivier is, for us, a very important player. I am really very happy for him and for the hat-trick, and I am really very happy with him.”

Meanwhile, Glenn Hoddle has claimed that Mateo Kovacic does not suit the playing style that Sarri is trying to implement at Chelsea.

Kovacic ended months of speculation in last summers transfer window by making the shock move to Stamford Bridge after failing to establish himself in the Real Madrid side under Frenchman Zinedine Zidane, and has been a big part of the Italians side.

He mas made over 40 appearances for Chelsea this season but has been heavily criticised by many in the media who believe he has done nothing to warrant a regular starting spot in the Chelsea side, especially since he has not scored a single goal in those 40 appearances.

And Hoddle believes it is his lack of attacking thrust that is holding him back.

‘I think he’s a better option than Jorginho in there but I think he would struggle with a No.10 in there like Jorginho would,’ said the 61-year-old on the Sky Sports website.

But for me it’s a no-brainer – they’ve got the best holding midfielder in the world in Kante and he’s trying to put him somewhere more attacking.

‘He will not score goals in that position, he might score one or two, but if you’re a No.8 you’ve got to score goals and really create. ‘He’s the best holding player, it’s like having two players in there.

‘He [Sarri] wants to play the three with a triangle in midfield so you’ve got an option of two going into the box. ‘Loftus-Cheek is tailor-made for that position, even Barkley.

‘Whereas when Kovacic plays in that position he’s not getting in the box, if he’s playing against you you know he’s going to be there [in front of you]. He’s never going to run behind you and give you a problem behind, so you can defend it so easily.

‘Even Kante when he’s in a holding position, every now and again he bursts past you so you can’t just think he’s ghoing to sit there all day, you’ve got to be on your toes.

‘It’s like having two plays in there, he covers so much ground, why would you change that?’

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Iomie

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