What's the story?
Chelsea skipper Cesar Azpilicueta has voiced his opinion on why the Blues drifted away from the Premier League title race last season. He also added that although the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City are great, his team can up their intensity and mentality in order to mount a title challenge.
In case you didn't know...
The Blues, under Maurizio Sarri, underwent major transition from their usual style of football. The emphasis shifted to high pressing, possession-based football, something that the fans weren't used to watching with their team.
Having started on an unbeaten run in the first dozen of Premier League games, Chelsea saw a major blip in their vein of form that ultimately led to a third-place finish, 26 points adrift of champions Manchester City.
The heart of the matter
Speaking to Sky Sports, the Blues skipper explained the reason behind last season's duopoly featuring City and Liverpool. He said:
"Well the truth is that last year they opened a big gap They raised the level more than anybody could imagine. They have been working together with the group of players and the manager for a few years."
Despite what happened last season, Azpilicueta optimistically added:
"But it's up to us to raise our level by working hard, by having the focus and the mentality to fight for this title. Last season we finished third but it's in our hands to try to reach the top."
Along with the same, the full back also revealed that Chelsea are close to installing Lampard's philosophy. He claimed that despite regular change in management, the players are ready to accept the challenges and put in the hard yards.
At the moment, it's hard to place the bet on Chelsea, given their change in system, lack of a true goalscorer and of course, the dampening absence of Eden Hazard. However, they continue to work harder each week and are preparing for their next fixture against Reading, slated to take place on Sunday.
Thereafter, the Blues travel to Austria for a friendly against Red Bull Salzburg.Published 26 Jul 2019, 23:00 IST