Chelsea tactician Maurizio Sarri has revealed why opted to go for Croatian midfielder Matteo Kovacic ahead of in-form Ross Barkley in the game against Everton on Sunday.

In an interview with Sky Sports as quoted by London Football news, the former Napoli talked about his decision to have Kovacic start ahead of Ross Barkley as Chelsea were held to a barren draw.

Barkley was widely expected to feature against his former employers, but Sarri opted to deploy Mateo Kovacic in central midfield alongside mainstay duo N’Golo Kante and Jorginho.

The England international was introduced from the bench in the closing stages of the goalless draw but was unable to influence proceedings as Everton held the Blues at Stamford Bridge.

Following the match, Sarri revealed that his decision to drop the player was based on fitness, as the former Everton midfielder recently feature 90 minutes for the London side in their Europa league away game against Bate Borisov.

He said: “Ross played for the 90 minutes in the last match three days ago. We are lucky because we have Kovacic – a great player who is fresh to play”.

Barkley will be hoping to return to Chelsea’s starting lineup after the international break.