Chelsea skipper Cesar Azpilicueta praised new coach Thomas Tuchel’s impact at the club. The Spaniard has even claimed that everything has improved since the arrival of the German manager at Stamford Bridge, perhaps aiming a subtle dig at former manager Frank Lampard.
Azpilicueta rose through the ranks at Osasuna and arrived at Chelsea via Marseille in the summer of 2012. He has been an integral part of the Blues squad ever since, but Lampard’s preference for youth hurt his chances of first-team football during the Englishman’s tenure at Stamford Bridge. However, all that has changed since the arrival of Tuchel.
Speaking to Mundo Deportivo, the Chelsea skipper insisted that the Blues were a better team under Tuchel.
“Six weeks ago we weren't at our best. Now with Tuchel, everything has improved. The team has better feelings. Although the Premier has nothing to do with it, reaching the Champions League on a roll is good news. The solidity has recovered, fewer opportunities are granted and that speaks of the work of the group, from the first attacker to the last defender. With the new coach we try to control the games with and without the ball” said Azpilicueta
The Spaniard also shed light on the lack of opportunities under Lampard, insisting that even though it hurt to sit on the bench, he put Chelsea’s interest first.
“It becomes more complicated when one is used to playing. It was not a scenario, much less desired, but I respected the coach and tried to help from the outside. I stayed calm and prepared to enter when necessary. You always want to play and it hurts to be a substitute, but as captain, I put the collective interest first because I don't consider myself a selfish footballer” said Azpilicueta
Chelsea remain unbeaten under Tuchel so far
Lampard guided Chelsea to a fourth-place finish last season and the Blues were expected to compete for the league this season after investing around £200m on players in the summer. However, despite the initial promise, the Englishman had to pay for a dismal run of form with his job.
Since his arrival, Tuchel has overseen a fantastic run of form which has seen Chelsea win four of the last six games in the league. That has propelled the Blues to fifth in the Premier League and they remain on course for a strong finish to the season. The London side are also unbeaten under the German manager so far.