Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta has rubbished claims that new boss Frank Lampard's inexperience in management will be a problem for the club, amid calls for the club to reunite under his leadership following a rocky season.
Despite Europa League success, Champions League qualification and a League Cup final, the 2018/19 campaign was full of difficulties. Speaking to the Telegraph following the draw against Bohemians in their first pre-season outing, Azpilicueta admitted a desire for the club to rally around their new boss.
The Spaniard explained: “We know fans can make the difference. It is true that last season for periods we didn’t give them what they expected. Our level and performances were not good enough and the reason they were not happy with us and negative. We turned it around and got the Europa League at the end.
“You can see that this season all of the fans are very happy and we have the gaffer back at the Bridge. Now we have to give it back by working hard on the pitch, by winning games – which I think is the best way to be even more together and drive in the same way.”
And, when asked questions about Lampard's experience, he declared: “The whole experience he has as a player, playing at the highest level, under a lot of very good managers, his personality, behaviour and experience – there is nothing to be worried about as a manager.
"All of the club, we are very excited, and the only way we can carry it is by starting and winning together, getting the feeling back of being all together as a club. Every year gets harder and harder and we have to be ready."
The club's record goalscorer has repeatedly talked up the need for players to 'feel the (Chelsea) shirt', and Azpilicueta repeated the mantra when continuing to talk up Lampard's legacy, saying: “He was here for a very long and very successful period, and I can only speak the way I was with him as a player and to feel the shirt was to go every day in Cobham to be better, to train hard, to behave well on and off the pitch.
“Obviously, sometimes we lost games but always we wanted to win more and more. We have to be grateful and feel the passion for the shirt. This is a big, big club. We have to take responsibility and know that there is a lot of things around us and we have to work hard to get it better.”