Kante: Chelsea not favourites for Europa League
N'Golo Kante says Chelsea are underdogs in their quest to win the Europa League and end Maurizio Sarri's first campaign at the club on a "beautiful" high.
The Blues held off Slavia Prague in their quarter-final tie by claiming a 5-3 aggregate victory, setting up a semi-final with Bundesliga outfit Eintracht Frankfurt.
Sarri has been under immense pressure this season and his team did it the hard way against Slavia, as two quickfire goals from Petr Sevcik early in the second half of Thursday's second leg saw the Czech side move to within two goals of their opponents, after trailing 5-1 at one stage.
Kante admits Chelsea's failure to see out matches with the minimum of fuss is becoming a problem, but progression to the last four is ultimately all that matters for the Frenchman as it keeps the London outfit on course for more silverware.
"It's just something that has happened many times this season and something we need to manage a bit better," he told reporters after the match. "We still have to work on that.
"The most important thing was to qualify. We’ll go into the semi-final with confidence and we hope to qualify for the final. I think it’s important to be in the semi-finals, it was our target.
"We played a good game, it was difficult in the second half but we got what we wanted and we are happy for that. I think [Slavia] worked very well. They tried to push more and scored two beautiful goals. And after that, we managed to hold on to keep the win.
"We can make the season beautiful by winning the Europa League.
"That’s the only title we can win now, so it would be great to win the Europa League.
Chelsea's reward for beating Slavia is a two-legged tie with Frankfurt for a place in the May 29 final, where one of Arsenal or Valencia will await.
Despite his side's pedigree in the competition, having gone all the way in their only previous Europa League campaign in 2012-13, Kante insists Chelsea cannot be considered the favourites this time around.
"We’re not favourites. We played a good match tonight and we will do all we can to get to the final. But we’re not favourites," he added.
Kante has won two Premier League titles and the FA Cup during his three full seasons in England with Leicester City and Chelsea.