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Maurizio Sarri says Chelsea's character and personality saw them through to Europa League final

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Chelsea head coach Maurizio Sarri admits his side were fatigued in extra-time, but was delighted with his players' performance

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri hailed his side's "great personality and character" which saw them edge out Frankfurt 4-3 on penalties to set up a Europa League final showdown with Arsenal.

The semi-final second leg ended 1-1 - and 2-2 on aggregate - at Stamford Bridge on Thursday night, meaning a penalty shootout was needed to separate the two teams.

However, despite Cesar Azpilicueta seeing his spot-kick saved by Kevin Trapp, Kepa Arrizabalaga then kept out two Frankfurt penalties to be his side's hero in the shootout.

"There is no preparation for penalties because you can kick very well in the training ground, but then the pressure is different," Sarri told BT Sport.

"You need a great personality, a great character. I think it's really useless to try [to prepare for] penalties."

"Now we need to rest. We have to recover energy because we are really very tired."

As for the match itself, the home team had made an excellent start after taking a 28th-minute lead thanks to Ruben Loftus-Cheek's well-taken goal.

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However, the visitors responded through Luka Jovic's 49th-minute effort and then took the game to their opponents, twice forcing dramatic goal-line clearances in extra time.

"I think we played a very good first half," said Sarri. "Then in the first part of the second half, we went in trouble. We were passive in the defensive phase, so we conceded the goal, 10 minutes of panic.

Kepa Arrizabalaga and Cesar Azpilicueta celebrate Chelsea's win
Image: Kepa Arrizabalaga and Cesar Azpilicueta celebrate Chelsea's win

"Better in the last part of the match, then in the extra-time, I think we were really tired - after 60 matches to play 120 minutes it's really very difficult and we were unlucky during the match because we lost (Andreas) Christensen, we lost (Ruben) Loftus-Cheek.

"We started the match with three injuries and two injuries during the match, it's not easy but in the end, we can play the final."

Man-of-the-match Loftus-Cheek was forced off with just four minutes to go, although the Chelsea head coach allayed fears the midfielder had suffered an injury.

"Not a serious problem, but he had the usual cramp after 75 minutes," Sarri confirmed.

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