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Azpilicueta and Kanté welcome Pulisic, bemoan inability to score at Stamford Bridge

Azpi sharply reminds everyone about the competition for places

AS Monaco v Borussia Dortmund - UEFA Champions League Group A Photo by TF-Images/TF-Images via Getty Images

César Azpilicueta made a pointed reference to the competition for places at Chelsea when he talked about welcoming American youngster Christian Pulisic to the club.

Might the captain have been indirectly addressing the troubles the team is currently experiencing? Perhaps trying to get the attention of his faltering teammates?

“Chelsea is a top club and the competition is very high. At every moment we need to get results and perform. That has been the case for a long time at Chelsea and it will always be the same, so obviously I’m very happy we’ve signed Pulisic.

“He’s a young player, very talented. He will come in the summer so for the next six months he will be with Borussia but I’m happy we’ve got a young player and hopefully he can be very good for us.”

-César Azpilicueta; source: Chelsea FC

N’Golo Kanté took a similar tack in his welcome, transitioning quickly from welcoming the 20 year-old, who’ll come aboard in the summer, to discussing Chelsea’s recent poor home form (one point from from six.)

“We know he’s a good player. He’s doing well for Dortmund and we are glad to welcome him to Chelsea.

“We played against a very compact Southampton team, we had some chances but we didn’t score. I think we defended very well in this game. We tried to keep the ball in the first half, in the second half we continued with our plan. We had more spaces and we tried to find a way to score but I think we missed some chances, the keeper made some saves and they fought until the end and got the point.”

-N’Golo Kanté; source:

With Chelsea having failed to score against either Leicester City or Southampton, Azpilicueta talked about the frustration the team has to overcome.

“Of course it’s frustrating not to score in two consecutive games at home. It’s difficult, it was 0-0 and obviously we wanted the three points. We were not able to do it so obviously we are frustrated.

‘It’s not easy but I think we did good movements with and without the ball to get into the last 30 or 35 metres, but we were not able to find the right space, the right pass, and obviously as the game goes on it becomes more frustrating and sometimes we try to do something even more difficult. As time goes on the other team grows in confidence and we are not able to break the line.

“At the moment, maybe when we get the chances we don’t put them in the net and sometimes that’s the difference. Obviously we will work to improve because we need to score goals and to keep not conceding, because if we mix the defensive work and scoring goals we will be getting points for sure.”

In admitting the obvious about the pressure the team is facing, Azpi still managed to find something to be optimistic about regarding Chelsea’s recent rotten home form.

“After last season when we missed out on the Champions League, this season the minimum is to be in the top four. It’s still a long time between now and May and sometimes in the season you go through better periods or worse periods.

“At the moment, when you don’t win a game at home the feeling is not positive but we need to learn from it. We cannot change the result now but we can work on improving. We still have a lot of games to play and we can still reach our target.”

-César Azpilicueta; source: Chelsea FC

The feeling is growing that it won’t be until next season, after a full preseason and maybe some new blood from the transfer market, that we’ll see the best of what Maurizio Sarri can do.

If that’s actually the case, then we might be looking at the second half of this season as a grim exercise in Chelsea grinding it out, rather than the joyful football we’d been expecting.

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