Lampard has reunited Chelsea and their fans, says Azpilicueta
‘You can see all of the fans are very happy’: Cesar Azpilicueta says Frank Lampard’s appointment has reunited Chelsea and their supporters
- Frank Lampard took charge of his first Chelsea game on Wednesday evening
- Chelsea fans got behind returning hero during the pre-season game in Ireland
- Supporters turned against his predecessor Maurizio Sarri last season
- Cesar Azpilicueta says Lampard has healed divisions within the Chelsea family
Frank Lampard has healed the divisions within the Chelsea family according to captain Cesar Azpilicueta.
Lampard’s appointment last week has instantly reunited the club after a campaign when supporters turned against his predecessor Maurizio Sarri.
‘It can be massive because we know fans can make the difference,’ said Azpilicueta after hearing fans get behind the returning hero during pre-season in Ireland.
Chelsea fans got behind Frank Lampard during his first game in charge on Wednesday night
‘It is true that last season for periods we didn’t give them what they expected.
‘Our level and performances were not good enough and the reason they were not happy with and negative.
‘We turned it around and got the Europa League at the end. You can see that this season all of the fans are very happy and we have the gaffer back at the Bridge.
‘Now we have to give it back by working hard on the pitch, by winning games – which I think is the best way to be even more together and drive in the same way.’
Azpilicueta played alongside Lampard for two years and expects him to thrive in the role despite his inexperience as a coach.
Cesar Azpilicueta says the return of Lampard has healed divisions within the Chelsea family
‘There is nothing to be worried about,’ said the 29-year-old Spain international.
‘His experience as manager is one year in Derby but there is the whole experience he has as a player, playing in the highest level, under a lot of very good managers, his personality, behaviour and experience.
‘I am sure his desire and passion for being manager and this chance to be manager of Chelsea, the club he loves and where the fans love him.
‘All of the club, we are very excited, and the only way we can carry it is by starting and winning together, getting the feeling back of being all together as a club. Every year gets harder and harder and we have to be ready.’
Nor does he expect Chelsea to suffer because of the restrictions of a transfer ban and the sale of Eden Hazard to Real Madrid.
Lampard is a hero to the Blues supporters and they will be fully behind him this season
‘Since I came here we’ve had people leave every season like Lampard, John Terry, Didier Drogba, Ashley Cole and Petr Cech,’ said Azpilicueta, signed from Marseille in 2012.
‘In those moments we couldn’t imagine a Chelsea side winning a trophy without those quality players.
‘We knew that to replicate the success of the great players in the past was difficult but every year we’ve had the chance to bring trophies back to Stamford Bridge.
‘We’ve been doing that quite well – and sometimes we could have done better.
‘Now we have something unusual, the transfer ban, which gives a chance for a lot of young players, players coming back from loan.
Michy Batshuayi (C) celebrates scoring Chelsea’s first goal of pre-season against Bohemians
‘Sarri is gone and I can only wish him the best but it was his choice and now we have to move on.
‘We’re not going to win anything thinking about the past, complaining. We have a great chance starting in less than six weeks to win a European trophy again.’
Lampard took charge of his first match as Chelsea manager on Wednesday, a pre-season friendly in Dublin against Bohemians which ended in a 1-1 draw.
Michy Batshuayi struck early before the Londoners conceded an equaliser in the 89th minute but this could not detract from the energising effect of the new manager.
As well as reconnecting with the fans, Lampard could also bring a unifying presence to a dressing room with a reputation for turning against its leader.
Lampard could also bring a unifying presence to a notoriously difficult dressing room
‘I enjoyed my time with him as a team-mate,’ said Azpilicueta. ‘The way he showed in every training session, the way he wanted to break every record, the way he wanted to improve in every single session, to improve his finishing, the way he was playing was something really special to be by his side.
‘Now, the next stage for him is as a manager and he is our boss. We follow him and I can see it in training, the way he wants to play, the way he wants us to feel the shirt, the way he wants us to train every day is something special.
‘We are delighted to have him as a manager. We will work hard because we have an exciting season ahead, new challenges and the only way to prepare it is by working hard and getting success at the end of the season.
‘We will try to be with him because we are one and we want to win.’
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