Interview

Azpilicueta: Fighting together

Cesar Azpilicueta says Chelsea need to treat every game from now until the end of the season like a cup final to help us secure Champions League qualification.

The race for the top four is finely balanced as we enter the closing stages of the Premier League season, with just two points separating ourselves, Leicester City and Manchester United in third, fourth and fifth spot in the table, ahead of the Red Devils’ match against Southampton.

While we currently occupy third place, secured with victory over Crystal Palace last week, we know things have become much tighter following our defeat at Sheffield United on Saturday and we need to avoid further slips if we are to finish on top in that battle.

‘We have conceded a lot of goals and obviously that put us in every game in difficulties and now, at this stage of the season, it’s about sticking together, fighting together,’ said the Spaniard. ‘We know that in the Premier League we have three games remaining, and we have the FA Cup semi-final against Manchester United.

‘Our job is to be as high as possible in the table. We got into the third place, we are Chelsea and always we aim to finish as high as possible. So when you lose that chance to have it in your hands and to finish third, obviously it is a big disappointment.

‘We are very disappointed about the result at Sheffield United and we know that we have a massive game against Norwich. Every game that we are going to play from here until the end of the season is a final and we have to get the maximum points possible.’

Our captain also discussed the importance of players embracing the competition for places at a club like Chelsea, especially with two new signings for next season already secured in the form of Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner, but insisted the squad is concentrating firmly on what they need to do in the last few games of the 2019/20 campaign.

‘When you are a player of Chelsea you have to give everything in every training session, in every game. Always Chelsea have had very good players, world-class players, new signings. We know that every day we have to fight for our place and the standards are high and we have to aim for the maximum.

‘This ambition has to remain. We know that the squad we have at the moment is one that can achieve the targets for this season and then when next season comes we will take it as it comes. But the focus is on doing the best job we can in these weeks and getting the targets that we are aiming for.’

Read: Abraham on importance of reaction to Sheffield United result

MORE FROM CHELSEA