Chelsea skipper Cesar Azpilicueta has played down his heated argument with a supporter after last week’s defeat to Arsenal and says the fan’s desire to see more fight was warranted.
The Blues gave a lacklustre performance last Wednesday at Stamford Bridge, shipping two sloppy goals to Eddie Nketiah before Azpilicueta gave away a late penalty to put the game to bed.
After full-time, the Chelsea captain made his way around the stadium – which had large empty pockets due to government sanctions preventing the sale of further tickets – when he made a beeline for a fan in the crowd.
The fan intimated with his hands that Chelsea’s players had not shown enough fight but Azpilicueta took umbrage with the criticism, arguing back.
Now, the 32-year-old says the incident was blown out of proportion and he was only encouraging the fan to get behind the team during tough time, while he went over to the fan again after the 1-0 win over West Ham to give him a little gift as a peace offering.
Speaking to Sky Sports ahead of Thursday’s visit to Manchester United, Azpilicueta said: ‘It looked worse than it was, I agree with that.
‘It was at the end of the game and I was angry with my performance, I was angry with the result, the penalty, everything.
‘I just spotted him in the crowd, but nothing to do with him. It was just an exchange of words that looked worse than it was.
‘We spoke clearly, he wanted more fight from the team – and he was right. ‘I expressed my view that in this moment everybody was having a moment of difficulty, we were having [10,000] people less in the stadium.
‘We were in a moment of difficulty and we needed to push all together in the same direction.
‘And the other day after the [West Ham] game I saw him again and I gave him the captain’s armband.
‘I think when there’s respect, I’m the first that when I look at the images it’s not really me, I was really angry.’
After a late strike from Christian Pulisic sealed a 1-0 victory over West Ham last time out, the Blues will be looking to solidify their position in third place even further when they travel to Old Trafford.