Maurizio Sarri concedes that trophy success in his first season in charge of Chelsea may not be enough to guarantee Eden Hazard remains at Stamford Bridge.
Hazard scored the winning spot-kick in Chelsea’s penalty shoot-out win over Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League semi-finals on Thursday, as Sarri’s side set up a clash with Arsenal in the final on May 29.
Sarri’s position has, at times, looked under threat this season, but the former Napoli boss has secured a top-four Premier League finish – and Champions League qualification – as well as taking Chelsea to the EFL Cup final, where they lost on penalties to Manchester City.
However, Sarri has acknowledged that even victory in the Europa League final may not be enough to keep star man Hazard, who has been heavily linked with Real Madrid.
“I don’t know, I don’t know. If Hazard is thinking that the history here is finished, then in his mind it is finished,” Sarri told a news conference.
“I can try to speak to him, but it is not easy. It’s not easy because of course I want Hazard, but I want Hazard with a very high level of motivation.”
Chelsea seemed to prepare for the loss of Hazard in January when they signed Christian Pulisic from Borussia Dortmund, with the United States winger set to join at the end of the season.
A ban on registering new players for the next two transfer windows has complicated their plans, although the club intend to appeal against FIFA’s decision at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Hazard has a year left on his contract, but Sarri said he would not be the one to make a decision on whether he is sold.
“As you know you have to ask the club because I am not in control of the market. I am not in charge of the renewal of the contract, so I am not able to answer,” Sarri said.
“I can only speak to the player but like a father, not like a manager. Also, if I speak to him, I will not tell you anything, it’s a discussion between a father and a son.”
Asked if he believed his first season at Stamford Bridge had been a success, Sarri replied: “I think that the season is really very good, because we got to two finals, we finish in the top four, so the season is really very good.
“Of course, in a final you need to be lucky. It is more important to arrive in the final, but now we want to win and if we are able to win a trophy after the top four then I think we can finish the season in a very strong way.
“So, we are able to do it and I think now we deserve, as a group, to win a trophy.”