CHELSEA TV EXCLUSIVE: CESAR PRIMED
Facing Stoke City may be a new proposition for Cesar Azpilicueta but he feels he has been well-briefed should he be asked to take on the Potters on their own turf today.
Chelsea look to get back to winning ways quickly following midweek cup defeat and also a loss in our most recent league outing, but the young Spaniard, who remained on the bench when Stoke played at Stamford Bridge back in September, is looking towards recent away games for inspiration as we take on the side with the longest unbeaten home record in the top flight.
'I know it is a very difficult game at Stoke and they are a very physical team,' Azpilicueta told Chelsea TV.
'When you play away from home it is always a difficult game but particularly this game at Stoke is a little more difficult, but I think we have the quality and the character to win there. We won at Everton and that was a difficult game and if we are 100 per cent then I think we are going to win the game.
'We have to be strong mentality and we know it is going to be a difficult ground with their fans who push their team a lot. They play with a lot of long balls so it is always difficult to defend but we need to do our game, play our football, and every little thing - throw-ins, set-pieces - is important in this type of game.'
Azpilicueta has been part of a very settled defensive line-up in recent weeks. That may be set to change with the return to fitness of John Terry but he is pleased those who have been asked to play regularly have been able to provide a solid platform in a lot of games.
'The base for the team is the defence and we have a lot of talented forward players and create a lot of chances, but we need to have a balance and strength defensively because we conceded a lot of goals. This is important for the team when you have a strong defence and you feel good on the pitch.
'Sure we have had positive results away in the last few games and not at home, but I think when teams come to Stamford Bridge they are very deep and we don't have a lot of space. They try to defend as best as they can but when they play at home they need to score. Always we have the same mentality when we play home or away, to win the game and to score goals, but the other teams they have a different plan.'
Azpilicueta revealed that Rafael Benitez's instructions after the Swansea game have been to concentrate on improving on minor details rather than any radical change to the way the players are going about their business.
'The feeling of the team is that we are doing well, we had control of the game but we had a lot of chances to score and sometimes when you don't score you lose the game. We need to be realistic and improve the things that we need to improve but keep going like we have been doing because this is the line for the future.'
Chelsea TV is live at 2.30pm with Wherever They May Be, with news and live updates before, during and after the clash with Stoke City.