London: Chelsea’s season hangs in the balance after Monday’s FA Cup exit but they must stay calm and recapture their best form in the next two games to turn things around, winger Pedro has said.
The FA Cup holders were beaten 2-0 by Manchester United in the fifth round, piling the pressure on under-fire manager Maurizio Sarri.
With a Europa League clash against Malmo and the League Cup final against Manchester City up next, there is no time to dwell on the disappointment, the Spaniard said.
“The most important thing now is to stay calm, train really hard and recover our best football and our best feeling, because if not we are in trouble,” Pedro said. “There is an important game in the Europa League for us and, after, the final against City.”
Chelsea lead Malmo 2-1 from the first leg of their Europa last-32 tie and host the Swedes on Thursday in the return.
Cesar Azpilicueta, who has captained the team in Gary Cahill’s absence, also called for calm.
“At Chelsea we are used to winning a lot of trophies and we have been the most successful team in England for the last couple of years,” Azpilicueta said. “We know we have the Europa League game coming up on Thursday. We will then play a final ... Hopefully we can keep calm from Thursday and then win that trophy on Sunday.”
Arsenal also have a Europa Cup date on Thursday — they trail BATE Borisov 1-0 before the return leg in London, and Matteo Guendouzi concedes few people would have heard of him before he arrived at Emirates last year. While he is surprised to have become a regular in the starting XI so quickly he has already shown he brings something different to the team.
The 19-year-old Frenchman was signed in July from Ligue 2 side Lorient and has quickly become a favourite of manager Unai Emery, making 33 appearances in all competitions.
“I’m a bit surprised that everything has been going so well,” Guendouzi told the Evening Standard.
“I had a chance during the pre-season tour and I took it, I showed I could be part of this team.
“Let’s be honest, apart from the players here who follow a bit of the French leagues, no one had ever heard of me.”
No other teenager has played more minutes in the Premier League this season and Guendouzi credits Emery for having faith in him so early on in his Arsenal career. “I owe him a lot because he has trusted me from the beginning. To give so much playing time to a 19-year-old at Arsenal is rare,” Guendouzi added.
Last-32, second-leg fixtures
Dinamo Zagreb v Viktoria Plzen, Salzburg v Brugge, Napoli v Zurich, Eintracht v Shakhtar, Valencia v Celtic, Zenit v Fenerbahce, Villarreal v Sporting, Arsenal v BATE, Inter v Rapid Vienna (all 9.55pm), Genk v Slavia Prague, Bayer Leverkusen v Krasnodar, Chelsea v Malmo, Real Betis v Rennes, Dynamo Kiev v Olympiakos Piraeus, Benfica v Galatasaray (all midnight)