1 April 2019

Azpilicueta: We Understand Fan Anger  (Sky Sports)

Maurizio Sarri and Cesar Azpilicueta Cesar Azpilicueta says he and his Chelsea team-mates understand why a number of the club's fans have voiced their displeasure at matches this season.

Against Cardiff on Sunday, Chelsea fans were openly critical of Maurizio Sarri's tactics, just as they were during their defeat to Manchester United in the FA Cup in February.

The head coach also irritated Chelsea fans on Friday when he revealed he had only watched a small part of Callum Hudson-Odoi's impressive first start for England against Montenegro during the international break, and then left him on the bench for the entirety of the game at the Cardiff City Stadium.

But Azpilicueta, who has captained the team for the majority of the season in the absence of the out-of-favour Gary Cahill, defended the dissenting supporters, telling Sky Sports News: "I cannot complain about the fans.

"We have to give them something to enjoy on the pitch. With recent performances, it is normal they are not happy. It's up to us to turn this around.

"We have always had their support in the bad moments, and when things are going well, we all enjoy them together.

"We have a great chance starting Wednesday [against Brighton] at the Bridge to play a great game and create a great atmosphere."

Chelsea's 2-1 victory at Cardiff, secured thanks to a goal from Azpilicueta that was clearly offside and a stoppage-time header from Ruben Loftus-Cheek, was only the second time they have come from behind to win in the Premier League this season.

The first occasion was also against Cardiff, during the home game in September, and Azpilicueta admitted they do not usually "come back from bad results".

He said: "I think in the last couple of games, the performances have not been at our level. We didn't create a lot of chances, we conceded goals in an easy way. I think there is a lot to improve.

"We are nearly at the end of the season so we must step up. Yesterday we showed great character because we normally don't come back from bad results. Yesterday was the second time in the Premier League that we did so.

"We got the three points but we have to be critical and we know we have to do better."

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