Cesar Azpilicueta has given an exclusive in-depth interview on all things Champions League in the matchday programme for our opening group stage tie against Sevilla next Tuesday. The programme, which is available to pre-order now, also contains interviews with Jody Morris, Charlie Cooke and John Hollins, as we get lost in European Chelsea nostalgia.
In a wide-ranging main interview feature, Azpilicueta opens up on the strangeness of football in the year of a global pandemic, and coping with the condensed fixture schedule that has resulted from that.
‘You have to adapt,’ he explains. ‘We have lived situations that we couldn’t have imagined and you have to get your head right in times like that, be ready to adapt.
‘We had a short pre-season, the transfer market was open during the start of the season, and there were a lot of rumours around, you had people going out and coming in. It’s not easy, but hopefully now everyone is a bit more settled and we can keep working. We know that results are key and at the moment, every three days, we have game, game, game. We have to be ready for that until the next international break.’
At times like that, his role as captain becomes extra important.
'Sometimes certain situations are difficult for players and trying to help them is my job. I really enjoy that and try to play a big part in those areas because I’m a team player. My goal is always to get the maximum out of everybody. Whenever I feel someone needs it, I will always be there to help.'
Elsewhere, our assistant head coach offers his assessment of the first few weeks of the campaign, praising Frank Lampard for the example he sets during a hectic season.
'He’s our gaffer,' says Morris. 'He’s been there and done it, playing up to 60 games in a season, so as much as we would have liked a longer pre-season, it is something he was renowned for – just playing relentlessly, going in and getting the job done.
'He certainly works like that and when you have that coming from the top, it filters down to the rest of the staff, throughout the building. We certainly take our lead from him and there’s not a harder worker amongst the staff.'
The programme is still the place to go for the exclusive comment from within the club, with columns from Chelsea Women boss Emma Hayes, development squad head coach Andy Myers and Under-18s head coach Ed Brand.
It’s also packed with historical content from writers stepped in Chelsea lore. Rick Glanvill charts the back story of floodlit football at Stamford Bridge in his series, Brick by Brick, while we take a deep dive into the first-ever Champions League group game in our history, against AC Milan back in 1999.
Plus there’s all the stats and facts you could want from club statistician Paul Dutton, as well as our regular Junior Blues offering for our younger fans.
You can order your copy of the Sevilla programme for £3.50 (plus P&P) from our programme partner Reach Sport.
Alternatively to get the best value, subscribe now for £80 (including P&P for UK customers). This guarantees every men’s team home programme – including Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup and Carabao Cup – from the 2020/21 season will be delivered to your door. This includes copies of programmes for our previous home games from this campaign, too.
* Please note programme delivery is subject to Royal Mail, not guaranteed for matchday