Skipper Cesar Azpilicueta has warned there is much work for Chelsea to do to secure safe passage to the next round of the Champions League, but he concurred with his new head coach Graham Potter that there were positives to take out of the way the team played against Salzburg, despite only taking a point on Wednesday night.
A Raheem Sterling goal was cancelled out on the night by the Austrians who also drew against AC Milan, the side against whom the Blues must now look to claw back points.
‘After losing the first game [against Dinamo Zagreb] we were in a tough position and now it is a bit worse,’ Azpilicueta said, ‘but it is still in our hands and now we work hard and with a change of manager of course, we try to adapt as quickly as possible to get ideas and to affect them on the pitch.
‘We play two games in a row against Milan and we have to be at our best level if we want to get the results and to go into the next stage.’
On the performance against Salzburg, Azpi said the team had control of the game and a few chances when they could have scored more after Sterling had found the net early in the second half.
‘Then we conceded a goal that was disappointing because when you are not effective in both boxes you get punished at this level in the Champions League,’ he added.
‘Raheem is an amazing player when playing wide and creating one-against-one chances and it was an amazing goal, and we tried to build from the back, get the spaces, get the midfield players into positions and for a moment we had good control of the game, for others not that good, but that is where we are and we have to analyse and be humble.’
The captain said the team had worked on a system that allowed Sterling to often operate like an attacking wing-back on the left, with Azpilicueta as part of a back-three when the team pushed forward, and Reece James on the right.
‘I think we are quite flexible in terms of system and position of players and that is the way the manager believed that we could hurt them and be stronger as a team and we work on that,’ he pointed out.
‘Of course we are disappointed with the result but I think there are as well a lot of positives to take. We will keep working hard now we have an international break and we then have a run coming with a lot of games every three days, and we have to be ready for it.
‘The manager has made very clear what he wanted from the players individually and as a team and we have to keep working. We know that we can do better, we have a big room for improvement, we need to keep sticking together and working hard and hopefully the results will arrive.’