There was no one better qualified to sum up Chelsea’s Premier League season after the final whistle against Leicester than Cesar Azpilicueta.
The defender played every minute of the league action, for the second time in his Blues career, and as part of the rearguard he had helped keep a clean sheet in the last of the 38 games while filling an unfamiliar position as one of two centre-backs. No goals were forthcoming at the other end too but the scoreless draw was enough to stay above Spurs in third place in the table.
Azpilicueta, who has captained the side on the pitch, reflected on a chequered campaign.
‘Obviously in this season we have had up and downs, we have arrived in the final of the Carabao Cup and lost on penalties, we have had bad games with heavy losses and we have had very good games when we have played well and had good results,' he said. 'We are in the final of the Europa League, we finished third when we were a bit in trouble a few weeks ago so that shows that the league is not easy and we showed character, and at the end we have finished third and play the Champions League next season.
‘We started with fourth position in our pocket already but we wanted more,’ said the Spaniard as he reflected on Sunday’s game specifically.
‘We knew we were facing a good team in very good form. Under their new manager Leicester have improved a lot, they have young players and it was their last game at home.
‘We were coming from 120 minutes in the semi-final as well so really it was important to finish well and we were unlucky not to win. We were not very effective up front and we could not take the lead, but we were happy to finish third and now we have the big game in Baku.’
That game is the major focus too for Eden Hazard, Azpilicueta said. The two know each other well having joined Chelsea at the same time. The defender spoke about the Chelsea fans' songs on their desire for Hazard to remain a Blue.
‘Of course they want him to stay,’ he said. ‘Eden has been an important part in the seven years he has been here, he is only focusing on getting good results and lifting the trophy in Baku, and after this his position with the club we will see. But everyone here, we love him and we would like him to stay with us.’