Interview

Azpilicueta on Chelsea being London's best

If there is one man in the Chelsea squad who knows the importance of a game against Tottenham better than most, then it is Cesar Azpilicueta.

Our club captain loves nothing more than securing victory over our north London rivals and ahead of today’s Stamford Bridge meeting against Jose Mourinho’s side, the Spaniard has offered an insight into the mentality he adopts for these types of games and the levels he demands of himself.

‘Since I arrived at Chelsea, I always tried to have the winning mentality of every game to finish at the top and to compete for trophies,’ Azpilicueta said.

‘That includes being the top team in London and we want to be at the top because that means we are the number one. That’s what we fight for. We are in good form and, hopefully, we can improve on last season and now reach higher levels.’

This season has provided some challenges for the skipper, with the right-back spending parts of this campaign on the substitutes' bench and watching from the side as the Blues compete both domestically and in Europe.

Azplicueta has contested with Reece James for a starting spot, with the young England international preferred by Frank Lampard often this term.

From the sidelines though you can always hear him offering his support, never sulking, and the Spaniard knows his chance will come again during this long season.

Azpilicueta in fact recalls what it was like for him as a younger player, keeping out experienced Chelsea stars such as Ashley Cole and John Terry in previous years.

‘Obviously, I am captain and I feel the responsibility,’ he said, of his leading role. ‘Everybody wants to play as much as possible and we try to make it a difficult choice [team selection] for the manager.

‘In my case it’s true that I played nearly my whole career in the team for Chelsea and I played consecutive games. I played a whole season when we won the Premier League with Antonio Conte.

‘But it’s part of football and I had examples like John Terry, and Ashley when I was playing left-back, and I never had any bad feelings from him. It was completely different, he was always helping.

‘I push and I train hard to get as many minutes as possible, when the manager needs me to be ready for him, but you know when I’m out I try to help from the stands.

‘I want my team to win and to fight for every trophy. That’s the responsibility I have and I feel I have to show the example every day to push my team-mates, to help, in this case Reece. And I think it’s very important we fight together and we are not selfish just thinking of our own situations.'

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