"The solidity has recovered" - César Azpilicueta buoyed by Thomas Tuchel's impact since January appointment

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Chelsea skipper César Azpilicueta has been dazzled by the impact that Thomas Tuchel has had since his announcement as manager in January.

The German manager replaced Frank Lampard at the wheel in west London and with less than two months into his reign as Blues boss, Chelsea are fifth in the Premier League table with crunch games coming in the FA Cup and the Champions League.

"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," said Azpilicueta, in an interview Mundo Deportivo, as relayed by The Daily Mail.

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"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 [Tuchel], we try to control the games, with and without the ball."

Under the former PSG boss, Chelsea have won five and drawn two in seven games while scoring nine times and conceding just twice. 

Azpilicueta, who was forced to be a squad-player under Lampard for much of the campaign, has benefitted from Tuchel switching to three at the back and deploying him on the right side of the defence , alongside Thiago Silva and Antonio Rüdiger.

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The 31-year-old further delivered his verdict on Chelsea's upcoming opponents in the Champions League Round of 16, La Liga's runaway leaders Atlético Madrid.

The Spaniard said: "Talking off the field leads to nothing. Atlético will put us to the test and it is on the pitch that we will see if Chelsea deserves to be considered a candidate for the Champions League. I think we have our chance, but we have to have a perfect tie."

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