Cesar Azpilicueta Praises 'Improved' Chelsea Squad Ahead of Champions League Defence

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Chelsea captain Cesar Azpliicueta has heaped praise upon the Blues' squad ahead of their Champions League opener against Zenit at Stamford Bridge.

The club are looking to start well as they defend their European title, following lifting the trophy last season.

Speaking ahead of the match, Azpilicueta discussed how the squad differs from last season.

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He said: "Of course every year we try to improve, that’s very natural. With the players here from last season, the club try to improve the team every year."

Chelsea made the addition of £97.5 million man Romelu Lukaku, bringing him back to the club after his departure in 2014.

"Romelu [Lukaku] is a great addition for the team." Azpilicueta said. "His experience, desire, ambition to help the team - we feel stronger, that gives you confidence coming back from a Champions League trophy. The new additions try to help, add their qualities to the team. We have the challenge we want to face together and we have to show it every day."

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The defender, who has been at Chelsea for nine seasons, compared the current squad with those that he has been a part of in the past.

"I was lucky to share a lot of moments with very good squads, top quality players." he said. 

"The comparisons are not good. Everybody is different, has different qualities. Football is evolving. When I look back to my first season in the Premier League and see how football has changed, I think it is completely different.

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"I see this squad with a great potential, ambition. We have healthy competition and a great group of lads. We try to train hard. We want to go forward, we have an exciting season ahead of us and want to fight for everything. That will reflect in the daily work we do here, how we commit to each other and how we leave our job. 

"The atmosphere we created last season together with the club, with the staff was a big difference to get the Champions League trophy and we have to take care of it. Every team wants to be the Champions of Europe, we have to be ready for it."

The Blues face Zenit on Tuesday night and will be looking for a positive result.


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