The Blues face Burnley tonight at Stamford Bridge. A win will be crucial if they are to maintain their challenge for a top-four place and qualification for the Champions League next season.
Chelsea’s defeat at Liverpool last week dropped them out of the top four, and the fight with Arsenal and Manchester United for what looks to be that vacant fourth spot now looks like it will be going right to the wire this season.
Sarri’s team have another route to the Champions League via the Europa League, if they win the competition, but that has been hard work too, as they just about scraped past Slavia Prague last week to make the semi-finals, where they meet Eintracht Frankfurt in a tricky last four tie next month.
Either way, it is going to be a real battle – and one which could decide the Italian’s future at Stamford Bridge.
After Burnley, Chelsea travel to United next Sunday, then face Watford and home and Leicester away. Sarri admitted: “We cannot choose a route.
“We have to try in the Premier League, we have to try in the Europa League. But we want to win the Europa League because it is a very important competition in itself, not just because of going in the Champions League.
“We have to try to get into the top four. It’s not easy because we only have four matches left.
“The last four five or five matches will be difficult for every team involved. We might see some very strange results in the last part of the season. But we are going to fight to the end.
“People give the Champions League too much importance. Of course it is the most important competition for clubs, but now it is one with straight elimination. The ball goes in off a post or out and you qualify or are eliminated.
“You need to play very well, but you need to be lucky in that competition. It’s clear it’s the most important competition for clubs in the world – but it’s a competition where you need to be lucky.
“The Premier League is very difficult. To get to the final of the League Cup we had to play Liverpool, Tottenham, and then Manchester City in the final. It is easier to get to the final of the Champions League.
“But in the Europa League at this point you cannot expect anything easy, either. We have to try in both ways.”
Youngster Callum Hudson-Odoi is set to be recalled against Sean Dyche’s team, along with Spanish fullback Marcos Alonso and midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
Probable team: Arrizabalaga; Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Luiz, Alonso; Kante, Jorginho, Loftus-Cheek; Hudson-Odoi, Higuain, Hazard.