Maurizio Sarri has insisted Emerson Palmieri won’t be sold by Chelsea after the defender impressed against Tottenham Hotspur on Thursday night.
Emerson came in for Marcos Alonso at left-back as Chelsea booked their place in an EFL Cup semi-final against Manchester City with a penalty shootout victory over Spurs at Stamford Bridge.
Was Emerson close to the Chelsea exit door? Five key things to know…
- Emerson joined Chelsea from AS Roma last January to provide competition for Alonso.
- However, the Brazil-born Italy international made only seven appearances across all competitions last season.
- Little has changed this term with Emerson playing just 12 matches, five of which came in the Europa League.
- A lack of game-time has seen the 24-year-old linked with an exit just 12 months after he arrived at Stamford Bridge.
- But an admirable display against Tottenham in the EFL Cup saw Sarri come out in support of Emerson.
Emerson has scored one goal and provided one assist in 12 appearances across all competitions so far this season.
His performance against Spurs was arguably his best of the campaign so far, and Sarri has said Emerson will not be sold in the current transfer window.
“Emerson will stay with us, for sure,” Sarri said, according to Chelsea’s official website. “He’s very important. He’s improving.
“Sometimes I had a little problem to put him in because we are not a very physical team so when we play with three little players in the same match, set-pieces could be a problem, but not for another reason.
“I’m very happy with him, he’s improving and he’s a very good player.”
Sarri: I didn’t attack my players
Sarri criticised his own players after last weekend’s 2-0 defeat at Arsenal in the Premier League, accusing them of being difficult to motivate.
Chelsea started the season well but have fallen away from the leading pack in the Premier League, primarily because of a lack of goals.
However, they remain in the race for a top four finish and are set to compete in the EFL Cup final next month.
Sarri has now defended his decision to call out his players, insisting he did not “attack” them.
“I think that they reacted very well tonight (Thursday). But I didn’t attack my players, I only said we had a problem,” Sarri added.
“The reaction was very good but I think we need to have motivation with continuity now, but I was very happy with the performance before the penalties.”