'I'm not ready to just be a back-up' - Giroud demands more minutes after Kiev hat-trick

Olivier Giroud Chelsea 2018-19Getty Images

Olivier Giroud insists that he does not want to be considered as merely a back-up striker for Chelsea as his fine form in Europe continued.

The France international scored a perfect hat-trick as the Blues booked their place in the Europa League quarter-finals with a 5-0 win over Dynamo Kiev on Thursday.

Giroud is now the top scorer in the competition with nine goals to his name heading into the last eight, but he has scored just once in the Premier League under Maurizio Sarri.

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He has not started a league match for the Stamford Bridge outfit since December 30, with Gonzalo Higuain having arrived in west London to replace Alvaro Morata in the January transfer window.

Giroud, though, is not happy playing second fiddle and insists his form in continental competition is proof that he has what it takes to be given more opportunities domestically.

"No chance [I will deputise for another striker]," Giroud told reporters. "I’m a competitor. I have been through a lot of tough moments in my career. I want to enjoy playing my football after winning the World Cup last summer.

"I want to take maximum pleasure on the pitch. That’s why when I play I try to enjoy the game as much as I can. I want to play every single game and to be happy on the pitch. But I am not picking the team. The manager makes some choices.

"I play in the Europa League, and I am happy to help the team to go through the stages, step by step. The target is clearly to win it. The Premier League is another thing you know? I’m 32, but I’m still young. I feel very well physically.

"When I do the tests on the treadmill I have to say that I have one of the best tests [at the club]. Physically I feel very good. I have the motivation to carry on.

"Some of the boys asked me why I didn’t retire after the World Cup with the national team, but I’m still hungry, and I know how much I will miss football after my career. I want more and more. I think I have a few nice years in front of me.

"I don’t know how many, my body will tell me. I still feel as fresh as when I was in my twenties. I remember all of my hat-tricks, but this one was important because it was an international game in the Europa League.

Olivier Giroud Chelsea 2018-19Getty Images

"I scored a hat-trick for Arsenal against Olympiacos when they needed to win by three goals, and we won 3-0. But this was the best day for Chelsea. When I have the opportunity to play and finish well the work of my team-mates, I do it with great pleasure."

Chelsea are one of six English teams to have qualified for the quarter-finals of either the Europa League or Champions League this season, with the Blues themselves set to face Slavia Prague in April following Friday's draw.

And Giroud is hopeful that a Premier League representative will reign supreme on the continent this season, though he is not ruling out departing English shores in the future.

"It is very nice for the Premier League to have four teams in the quarter finals of the Champions League and it’s well deserved. It’s true that we play a lot of games in the year, maybe more than any other championship.

"The league is very tough, very demanding in a physical way and it’s intensity. But I’m happy that English clubs are back on the European scene. Hopefully one of them will win it.

"For me the Premier League is great, it is my favourite league. Now we don’t know about the future – who can say? We’ll see."

Sarri's side return to action on Sunday when they travel to Goodison Park to take on Everton and look to close the gap on the Premier League's top four in the process.

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