Settling in at Chelsea

Cesar Azpilicueta has cemented the left-back berth at Stamford Bridge and has played a big part in a strong start to the campaign for Jose Mourinho’s men.

Cesar Azpilicueta has pledged his long-term future to Chelsea and can now focus on helping the defence improve and extend their impressive start to the season. The 25-year-old has cemented the left-back berth at Stamford Bridge and has played a big part in a strong start to the campaign for Jose Mourinho’s men.

Azpilicueta joined the Blues from Marseille in August 2012 and has made 95 appearances to date for the club, winning the ‘Players' Player of the Year’ award last season.

He made his senior international debut for Spain against Qatar in February last year, and was part of this summer’s World Cup squad.

With Chelsea already sitting pretty at the top of the English Premier League, there is excitement amongst the club’s fans at what could lie in store this season. Chelsea, however, have not had it all their own way so far and it is their firepower which has been the main reason for their winning start.

They suffered a scare when they conceded first at newly-promoted Burnley in their opening match of the season before coming from behind to clinch a 3-1 win. A clean sheet at home to Leicester was welcomed but three goals conceded in a nine-goal thriller forced Blues boss Mourinho to call for defensive improvements.

And, despite the nine-goal thriller, Azpilicueta too wants Chelsea’s wins to be more straightforward in future. “We scored a lot of goals but we conceded a lot as well, and as defenders we are not happy, but at least at the end we got the three points,” he said. “We are scoring more goals but we are conceding more goals from last year. As a defender I don’t like to concede but I think we are playing better football collectively. I'd prefer to win 1-0.”

Two of Mourinho’s summer signings — Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas acquired at a combined cost of GBP62million — showed what a difference they can make at Goodison Park.

Costa, a threat throughout, scored in the first and last minutes while Fabregas was influential in midfield. A lack of goals had cost Chelsea the title race last term, but that that should not be a problem this time around.

“Last year sometimes we had to play very well to score goals and sometimes it looks easier now — obviously Diego is scoring for us,” Azpilicueta said. “I played against him last season and he is a good striker and we are happy to have him in our team. He is a competitive guy who tries his best for the team. He is a worker and we want to provide better balls for the striker. We have to progress and keep improving. We have to play with more quality.

“It is important for the squad to keep pushing because we want to play better and to win the games, which is most important. You get nothing for just playing well and having possession. We have a very good squad and we have three wins from three games and it is important to start well.”

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