Cesar Azpilicueta marked his return to the Chelsea starting line-up with the winning goal as we defeated Lille to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League – even if the skipper admits there was an element of fortuity to his match-winning strike!
The Blues defeated Lille 2-1 in northern France to secure a 4-1 aggregate win, with Christian Pulisic and Azpilicueta the men on target for Thomas Tuchel’s side.
The skipper celebrated his goal with the fantastic travelling Chelsea support and explained that it felt good to be back helping the side, but admitted post-match that he received a slice of good fortune with the strike.
‘I’m very happy to score the winning goal, even if it was off my knee!’ Cesar stated after the game.
‘I just stuck my leg towards the ball and thankfully it’s came off my knee and into the net. I don’t usually score goals, so I’ll take that and the main thing is helping the team get a good result and qualifying through a difficult tie.
‘It felt good to be back, I was ready to play and to help the team. To score the winning goal in the last-16 of the Champions League, especially with the hundreds of fans that travelled over, it really was extra special.’
With all the off-field noise currently surrounding the club, it is credit to Tuchel and his players that they are able to put that to one side once they step onto the pitch and continue to produce results.
Wins against Luton, Burnley, Norwich, Newcastle and Lille across the FA Cup, Premier League and Champions League shows the resilience of this side, with Azpilicueta already looking ahead to another cup challenge as we head north to Middlesbrough this weekend.
‘It hasn’t been a normal few weeks for us and it’s really out of our hands,’ added the skipper.
‘What we have to do is focus on what we can do on the pitch. It’s out of our hands but what we can do is fight every day on the pitch and stick together, which is what everyone at the club is doing.
‘This is something that we will overcome and become stronger for.
‘We don’t make any excuses, that’s not us, and this group fights for everything. We have to do as best as we can on the pitch, we stick together and hopefully we can end up having a very good season.’