Zola on Chelsea fans facing Spurs in Carabao Cup semi-final: I’m sure they will react to Spurs in th
Gianfranco Zola. Photo by Paul Lagan
Chelsea are through to the Carabao Cup semi-final after beating Bournemouth 1-0 and will face Spurs in the two-legged semi-final next month.
Assiatant boss Gianfranco Zola said of the Spurs draw: "It could have been better. We are in the semi-finals, though. It looks like both games will be difficult now. But it's fine. We are happy because, some time ago, they gave us a good footballing lesson. We're looking forward to challenging them again. Everyone is very excited to be facing them again."
The match will be the first since Chelsea fans have come under fire from the club following recent anti-Semitic chanting.
Zola said: “I have no doubts that they will respond to it in a proper way. We have fantastic supporters and I'm sure they'll be supporting respectfully and in the Chelsea way."
Of the 1-0 win over the Cherries, Zola was impressed by the opposition.
He said: "It was a very tough game. Bournemouth are a very good team. Their coaches have been doing an excellent job. They gave us a really hard time today. We started well, but they didn't concede much, closed down the spaces well, and got stronger and stronger.
"The difference was the changes we made. When Pedro and Eden came on, they gave us an extra gear. That goal made the difference."
Eden Hazard scored the late winner but had to come off the bench to do it. Had Chelsea planned to do that?
"Of course we knew we have a lot of games,” said Zola.
”Obviously players like Eden, we need to keep them fit and in good condition. Also we knew that Eden is the type of player who can make a big difference when he comes on, even for 20 minutes. Pedro was excellent, too."
Midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek played in three different positions against Bournounth as a result of the substations. Zola had positive words to say for the England youngster.
"I was impressed with him,” he said.
“He's done very well as one of the strikers, wide players, but also he showed a lot of application and sacrifice when he played as a midfielder. He was getting tired towards the end, having problems, but he was still disciplined and gave the team a hand.
"He's gone a long way since the beginning of the season and improved in many ways. He's a good boy and works very hard on his game."
And on Hazard?
"He's certainly one of the players who has given this club a lot of satisfaction,”said the Italian.
“He is 27, and hopefully he will stay long with us and become even bigger. I'm really looking forward to seeing Eden achieving great things with the club, and helping us as coaching staff to achieve something important.”