Interview

Azpilicueta: We know what derby win means to fans

It was a day at Tottenham when Chelsea emphasised there is more to our goalscoring threat this season than Romelu Lukaku, and captain Cesar Azpilicueta praised the way the whole team improved on a sub-standard first half to return from north London with a 3-0 win.

Goals from defenders Thiago Silva and Toni Rudiger sandwiched one from midfielder N’Golo Kante to take Chelsea to the top of the table, but it had not been plain sailing with Kante having to be brought on at half-time with a tactical switch made.

‘The manager wasn't happy of course and we were not happy with our performance,’ acknowledged Azpilicueta afterwards.

‘Even though we arrived around the box we didn't shoot on target. Tottenham created a few chances where we could have conceded, in the duels we were not as good as we usually are, and sometimes we were too open and too wide and they played around us.

‘It was something we had to address because playing like this, we couldn't expect to win the game. The reaction was good, everybody is humble enough to accept it and to go again and to do a strong second half.

‘The second half was a very good performance from everybody. We really dominated, we kept the ball better. We did not make as many mistakes as we did in the first half.

‘It’s good that we have different options to score. Romelu did a different job in this game. He could not score but it's important that we don't rely only one player of course. Romelu is our main striker but we got the advantage through a corner and it is important to sometimes get set-pieces right which is what we did in this game, and those three points are massive in a derby that we know what it means for the fans as well.’

Azpilicueta had special praise for Thiago Silva who opened the scoring but emphasises the team effort overall, especially when working hard without the ball.

‘I think everybody saw how good Thiago was, with his strength, his experience and how he plays with the ball and without the ball. It was an amazing game which he topped with that goal, which made it 1-0, so all round it is fantastic to have Thiago with us.

‘Everybody gets credit. A characteristic of this team is that we play as a team all together. It is true two defenders scored and we kept a clean sheet against a strong team but we worked really hard, especially in the second half.

‘It is credit for the strikers as well. They are the first ones who press and make the job easier for everybody and that's how the team should work, from the top to the goalkeeper.

‘We got good results playing against tough teams in the first few games but we have to be humble enough to know that we are not at our best level. This team has shown we are able to play against any team with the same mentality, always trying to control the game, to create chances, to be solid playing as a team.

‘Now it's important to keep working because the league is not won in September. We are in a good position but there is still a lot of work to go ahead of us.’

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