Cesar Azpilicueta was frustrated by the missed opportunities that prevented us from winning in the FA Cup final, but insists we need to get over that disappointment quickly with three more big games coming in quick succession.
We suffered a 1-0 defeat to Leicester City at Wembley Stadium to deny us a first trophy under Thomas Tuchel, despite dominating possession and making the game’s best chances.
Skipper Azpilicueta admits that it is a tough result to take, but says we have to accept that we didn’t take our chances to score while our opponents clinically got a goal with their only shot on target.
‘It’s really hard,’ he said. ‘We had ambitions to win it and unfortunately we couldn’t do it. Of course we are disappointed, it was not our best game. We didn’t give them many opportunities but obviously they took one.
‘We were not clinical enough. We had our chances. In the first half-an-hour we were better, we had a few situations where we could have scored and the game could change, but we didn’t.
‘The game didn’t have many chances. We had a few situations in the first half where we could have scored, we didn’t take them, we didn’t make the right decision, and when it is 0-0 and the game goes on it is normal the first goal can win it. Unfortunately this time we were on the other side of that.’
Azpilicueta wasn’t just blaming the loss on our inability to finish the few chances we had in the game, though, being clear that he felt our overall performance was below the high standards we have set ourselves recently and which got us to two finals and into the Premier League’s top four.
Although the chance to win the FA Cup has now gone, with all still to play for in the Premier League and Champions League, the Blues captain knows how important it is to return to that level immediately following our first back-to-back defeats under Tuchel.
‘We were not at the level of the performances that we have shown in the last few weeks and it’s up to us to raise our levels and to come back because we have three games in front of us. Of course we are very disappointed but we don’t have a lot of time. We have to recover and go again on Tuesday.
‘We have lost the last two games, two important games. We have missed two opportunities and we cannot let more opportunities go. We cannot change the results, but we have to be humble, to accept that we can be better, pick ourselves up and go again, because we have three crucial games for the club, for us, for the fans and we are determined to win them.’
Of course, the first of those three games sees us facing Leicester again, this time at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League on Tuesday evening, meaning we will have the opportunity to bounce back quickly from this painful defeat.
‘It’s hard to take but in less than three days we are back and playing again, so we have to recover and go for it. Tuesday is a massive game for our Champions League qualification. We are in a position where everything is in our hands and now is the moment, the last week of the Premier League. We want to be in the top four and qualify for the Champions League and we have to show it on the pitch.’