Maurizio Sarri hails Marcos Alonso as best left-back in Europe

Cesar Azpilicueta

Bournemouth nearly halved the deficit through Ryan Fraser - who curled the ball agonisingly wide of the far post from distance - but Chelsea were full value for their win and will be delighted with the start to their season heading into the global break.

Former Chelsea star Hernan Crespo has identified the Blues and Sevilla as the two leading candidates for Europa League glory this season.

"I think that he will be important for sure".

"But because he changed the position on the pitch... last season he played (at right wing-back), and now we want him to play like a winger", Sarri told reporters on Friday.

Bournemouth is coming off a 2-2 draw against Everton, a result the Cherries earned thanks to a game-tying, 79th-minute goal from defender Nathan Aké, a Chelsea loanee. I think he needs to improve from the tactical point of view. "I think Loftus will be very, very important and very useful to us".




Yet while Chelsea enjoyed plenty of possession they created only a few chances and could easily have found themselves trailing at the interval.

Chelsea remained in the ascendancy as the first half progressed with Willian dragging a shot marginally wide of Asmir Begovic's post, but the best opportunity of the opening 45 minutes went to the visitors. It began some five years ago when Howe, then managing in the Championship, approached Sarri, at the time in charge at Empoli, asking if he might shadow him for a while. For example, in the first half we needed to move the ball at a faster speed.

After victories over Huddersfield Town, Arsenal and Newcastle United, the visit of Bournemouth to Stamford Bridge looked a walk in the park for the Blues but they didn't have it all their way.

"I'm really very happy with him".

After finishing outside of the top four in the Premier League last season, Chelsea were forced to settle for Europa League football instead of the Champions League this season. Starting from September we will play every three days.

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