Chelsea skipper César Azpilicueta has admitted that he wasn't entirely pleased with being named among the substitutes under former boss Frank Lampard.
The 31-year-old endured an indifferent start to the campaign, with the emergence of academy-product Reece James at right-back restricting the veteran defender to a spot on the bench for a large chunk of the first-half of the season.
"It [not playing regularly] becomes more complicated when one is used to playing. It was not a scenario, much less desired, but I respected the coach [Lampard] and tried to help from the outside. I stayed calm and prepared to enter when necessary," said the Spaniard, in an interview Mundo Deportivo, as relayed by The Daily Mail.
Azpilicueta, who'd been a regular fixture in the Chelsea lineup since his arrival from Marseille in 2012, conceded that it 'hurt' to be a squad-player and not feature on a regular basis, as he'd done under each manager he's played under during his time at Stamford Bridge.
He added: "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."
The full-back has made 22 appearances across all competitions this season, with 15 of those coming in the Premier League.
Following a run of poor results and several issues on and off the pitch, Lampard was relieved of his duties as Chelsea manager in January after an 18-month spell at the helm in west London.
The club captain reflected on his side's deteriorating form under Lampard in the weeks leading to the ex-boss' dismissal and said that the results were not 'good enough'.
"The results just weren't good. Frank [Lampard] 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 [club owner] and his executive [Marina Granovskaia] were the ones who decided to change course," added the defender.