Cesar Azpilicueta says victory over Fulham was just the start of Chelsea’s return to form and underlined the importance of following it up with another three points against Leicester City.
We got back to winning ways in the Premier League following a difficult run with a 1-0 win at a stubborn Fulham side, who were reduced to 10 men just before half-time following Antonee Robinson’s rash challenge on Azpilicueta.
However, our skipper insisted even against 10 men it was a challenging game, but an important win for our confidence going forward.
‘It was difficult,’ he said. ‘We knew that we were playing against a team that had a couple of good results. They were improving in their play, they were conceding very few chances to the opposition, so we had to fight.
‘When you are in a bad run of results the key is to start winning. It’s very important and obviously we have to start winning more games and this was a game that we knew we had to win and we did the job.’
While our skipper was pleased to take all three points from a tough game, he also insisted we need to keep working and improving further if we are to return to the form we were showing earlier in the campaign and achieve our goals this season.
‘We knew that it would not be easy and in the end we managed to get three points and hopefully we can go from here, but we know that we have to improve still so we take the three points and now we move on.
‘The season is long but we are nearly halfway through and we know that every game is very important, every point is difficult to get. It’s better obviously for the confidence to win a game, although we can play better and we should play better. That’s the reality.
‘We have to be very demanding of ourselves and obviously that’s the work that we do day-by-day in Cobham, and we have to take it into the games. For the confidence it’s obviously much better to get the three points so we’ll keep practicing and keep working. Hopefully that will bring us the momentum.
‘We still have a lot of room to improve, we know that. We are Chelsea, we always want more. We have been in a difficult moment, getting bad results, not keeping clean sheets in matches as much as would like and we were not solid, we were not scoring goals. We have to restart and defend together better, move the ball better, create spaces for each other and against Fulham we saw a little improvement.
‘But we know that they are just three points, we are far from where we want to be. We have to keep winning. So now we have to recover well. In three days we have another massive test against Leicester and we have to be ready for it because it’s going to be a tough one again.’
Azpilicueta also discussed the reckless tackle on him which resulted in Fulham’s red card for Robinson, and his relief that he saw it coming in time to avoid the full brunt of the challenge.
‘I saw him running,’ he recalled. ‘It was 50-50, I always put my leg in for that, I don’t want to come out of that, I like the challenge, so I was lucky to pull my leg out and to jump after, because I think he was quite in a rush and had a bit of a nasty tackle.’