Frank Lampard’s first game in charge of Chelsea ended in a 1-1 stalemate with Irish side, Bohemians FC; but Blues captain, Cesar Azpilicueta is confident that the club has the best man for the role, and expects Lampard to bring success to the team.
The Spaniard, currently away on pre-season training with the Chelsea squad in Dublin, noted that the new manager’s appointment had kindled a spirit of oneness within the rank and file of the club, before revealing that he has been impressed by his training methods thus far.
‘It’s good to have the manager with us,’ the defender told the Chelsea’s official website.
‘I watched some Derby games last season and obviously shared a dressing room with him so I know the way he was as a player and I could see in this week of training the way he wants us to play.
‘He wants us to feel the shirt and train hard every day, which is something special that we’re all looking forward to.
‘Frank was here for a very long and successful period so he knows what it means to try to be better every day. Sometimes we lost games but we always wanted to win more and more.
‘We have to be grateful and feel the passion to be Chelsea players. It’s a big club and we have to take the responsibility,’ he added.
Azpilicueta, who shared a dressing room with Lampard for two seasons, was also quick to point out the new manager’s unflagging personality, and shrugged off notions held by many that Lampard’s inexperience as a coach would hamper his work at Chelsea.
‘He’s the boss now and we will follow him obviously,’ Azpilicueta continued. ‘We’re delighted to have him as our manager and we will work hard for him because we have an exciting season ahead of us.
‘Frank’s experience as a manager is one year in Derby but the football experience he has, playing at the highest level and working under a lot of very good managers, means we have nothing to be worried about.
‘He has a lot of desire and passion to be the manager of Chelsea, the club he loves and where everyone loves him. All the players, staff and fans are excited and now the only way we can get it started is by being together as a club and hopefully we can do it together.’
The 29-year-old also played down the impact Eden Hazard’s departure to Real Madrid would have on the team next season, explaining that the club managed to live up to the billing in past seasons even where they had lost big-names.
‘Since I came here, in every season we’ve had players leave – Lampard, John Terry, Didier Drogba, Ashley Cole, Petr Cech.
‘At those moments, people couldn’t imagine a Chelsea side winning trophies without those quality players but we tried to keep the level high and every year we’ve had the chance to bring trophies to the Bridge.
‘Eden is gone, we 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 just thinking about the past.
‘We have a great chance already in five weeks to win a European trophy again so we want to work hard and look forward to that.’