Chelsea boss: 'I think the media give the Champions League too much importance'

Maurizio Sarri believes the Champions League is overhyped.

The Chelsea boss concedes Europe’s top-tier competition remains the world’s premier club tournament, but insists its importance is overstated.

Chelsea must win the Europa League or secure a top-four Premier League finish to qualify for next term’s Champions League. Exclusion from the continent’s top table hampers recruitment and hits revenue, leaving Sarri’s employers possibly unimpressed with his Champions League views.

“I think the media give the Champions League too much importance,” said Sarri, whose future at Chelsea remains far from stable.

“Of course it’s the most important competition for clubs. But it’s a competition with straight elimination, so we need to play very well but you need to be lucky. I can understand if you stay in the Champions League it’s another world probably.

“I have played two times in the Champions League and it’s clear that it’s the most important competition for clubs in Europe and as a consequence in the world I think.

“But it’s a competition in which you need to be lucky.”

Chelsea face Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League semi-finals, while hosting Burnley tonight in their top-four Premier League quest.

Olivier Giroud has warned Chelsea he needs a more prominent role to stay at the club next season, but the Blues are still expected to trigger the extra year’s option on his contract. Asked if he thinks Giroud already plays enough, Sarri said: “I think so. But he is playing because he is very useful for us. Giroud played match number 39 (on Thursday). Not number nine, 39! He’s started 19 or 20.

“For 70 minutes (against Slavia Prague), very useful, played very well. But he needs to recover like the other players, more than the other players because he is 90kgs and after the match he needs time to recover.”

Burnley boss Sean Dyche reminded his players they are not mathematically safe.

“I think they know, from the history we’ve had, nothing has been given to us,” he added. “We haven’t had that many decisions, two penalties in 90-odd games or something.

“It owes us nothing, we have to go and get it. We’re concentrating on the job in hand.”

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