Giroud issues EFL Cup warning after Chelsea's Europa League win

By Sports Desk February 21, 2019

Olivier Giroud welcomed Chelsea's win over Malmo as a much-needed confidence boost but warned the EFL Cup final will be an entirely different challenge.

Maurizio Sarri's men warmed up for Sunday's meeting with Manchester City by easing to a 3-0 victory at Stamford Bridge and into the Europa League's last 16.

France striker Giroud and midfielder Ross Barkley, the duo who provided the goals in the 2-1 first-leg success in Sweden, both struck in the second half before Callum Hudson-Odoi added a late third.

The result came as a relief following a run of three defeats in five matches, a deflating sequence which included the 6-0 Premier League loss suffered against City.

"It's good for confidence but now we need momentum," Giroud told BT Sport.

"It's going to be a completely different game at Wembley. It's a final so we need to play it as a final and learn from the mistakes [we made against City last time].

"We needed some confidence back. That's why we needed a good win, especially to reassure ourselves defensively.

"We were strong defensively and we were efficient offensively, so it's a good night for us. We finished the job well. Now we can focus on the next game."

The impressive Hudson-Odoi gave his hopes of starting on Sunday a big boost with a lively performance in attack.

The 18-year-old was making his first start in almost a month, having been largely overlooked since interest from Bayern Munich ended with him reportedly submitting a transfer request.

Hudson-Odoi said he was unsure whether the display would convince Blues boss Sarri to start him against City, adding: "Hopefully I did well and made an impact.

"The performance from the team was very good. I'm happy with the goal. That's a bonus to the good work the team did."

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    France got their campaign off to a routine start with a 4-1 win over Moldova on Friday and the world champions delivered another goal-laden victory upon their return to Paris as they brushed aside Erik Hamren's Iceland 4-0.

    Samuel Umtiti opened the scoring after 12 minutes and France had to wait until midway through the second half for a second – Olivier Giroud steering home from close range to become his country's third all-time goalscorer. 

    Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann then added two fine goals late on as France turned on the style to wrap up the most comfortable of three points in the French capital.

    Deschamps admitted France struggled at the start of the second period but was delighted to see his rich array of attacking talent exploit the gaps in Iceland's defence as the game wore on.

    "They left more space when they got fatigued and we used that," head coach Deschamps told M6.

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    "The atmosphere was beautiful. The players had a lot of fun playing this game."

    France and Turkey are level on six points at the Group H summit and face off in Konya on June 8 – a game Griezmann said they will be well prepared for.

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