Italy international Davide Zappacosta celebrated reaching the Europa League Final with Chelsea and revealed Maurizio Sarri had prepared a tactical switch.
They drew 1-1 with Eintracht Frankfurt, 2-2 on aggregate, and won the semi-final on a penalty shoot-out.
“There was a lot of tension, but also confidence, as we knew that we could do it, even if it wouldn’t be an easy match. We did very well to bring home this qualification for the Final, as the Europa League meant a lot to us,” Zappacosta told Sky Sport Italia.
“When you play 60-odd games over the year, you can run out of steam towards the end, but we did well to hold out against a very physical side like Eintracht Frankfurt.”
Zappacosta was asked why Sarri’s tactical approach has not yet shown through at Stamford Bridge after almost a full season.
“Playing every three days, we don’t have enough time to practice the tactics or movements. Those little details are so important, especially when you play in a defensive line, and it requires constant work to ensure you’re all on the same page.”
It was Zappacosta who came off the bench to replace injured Andreas Christensen in the second half, moving Cesar Azpilicueta to central defence, but it seems this was no off-the-cuff decision.
“When I saw Andreas on the ground, I figured I could come on, as the Coach already tested Azpilicueta as a centre-back during the week.
“I trained hard and tried to ensure I was always ready, as I couldn’t stand the thought of a chance like this coming along and I wouldn’t be prepared. I gave 100 per cent and we’re very happy to have reached this Final.”