Cesar Azpilicueta has compounded Frank Lampard’s misery by lauding the arrival of Thomas Tuchel at Chelsea, saying ‘everything has improved’ under the German coach.
Lampard was sacked in January after a poor run of results and failure to turn things around. Thomas Tuchel was brought in soon after and he has revived the club and their hopes of Champions League football for next campaign.
Speaking ahead of the clash Champions League game against Atletico Madrid, Azpilicueta had some words regarding the current situation at Stamford Bridge and on Lampard’s exit.
‘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.
Azpilicueta further talked about how the form and the team’s defensive solidity had improved the former PSG manager.
‘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.’
This is understandable coming from Azpilicueta given how he was reduced to a squad option under Lampard, with Reece James being preferred. The Chelsea skipper claimed that it ‘hurt’ not to play regularly under Lampard.
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However, he did say that he was lucky to have played under the club legend after having shared the dressing room with him during his last years as a player at Chelsea.
Speaking about Lampard’s dismissal, he added: ‘The results just weren’t good. Frank has been a myth as a footballer, I was lucky enough to share a dressing room with him and after he trained me, but (Roman) Abramovich and his executive were the ones who decided to change course.’
‘It becomes more complicated when one is used to playing,’ he admitted. ‘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.’