Cesar Azpilicueta says that the players can have no complaints if Jose Mourinho makes wholesale changes to his line-up following the debacle in Basel.
Mourinho blamed himself for picking a ‘tired’ XI that crashed to defeat on Tuesday night in the Champions League but Azpilicueta argues that it’s not such a good excuse for the players as they have to forget their fatigue – especially with nine fixtures coming up in December.
The right-back said:
“(We are) a little bit (tired), but that’s normal.
“You can’t always play 100 per cent. I feel okay. I finished the game well without any problems.
“It’s normal when you play every three days that the players feel a little more tired. The most important thing is the mental approach, to forget the tiredness of the body.”
He also said that players should not feel hard done by should they be axed for the next match:
“No. The manager is who decides about that (picking the team).
“Sometimes he makes changes, sometimes more, sometimes less, it depends on how he sees us and the way we have performed. He is the manager and will try to do the best for our team.”
It was clear against Basel that the likes of Frank Lampard, Oscar and Ramires were not at the races and it was a surprise to see fresher players like Juan Mata and Andre Schurrle unused by the manager, so it’s positive that he has recently conceded that he should be mixing things up more often in order to keep the pack sharp.
Azpilicueta will be happy with his form of late in an unfamiliar position at left-back. The Spanish international has adjusted well to a new role and by doing so for the good of the team will be something that will impress Mourinho, who may well reward Azpilicueta in future. In my opinion he should be our starting right-back as I get the whole tactic about Branislav Ivanovic competing for Petr Cech’s kicks but think it’s leaving us short elsewhere and the system could be adjusted because there are other players that can make themselves awkward when the ball is in the air – perhaps not as well but can do the job good enough.
I’d imagine there will be at least a change or two for Chelsea’s home game against Southampton at the weekend. The Saints were guilty of a number of gaffes that cost them dearly against Arsenal last week but have performed well this season and Mauricio Pochettino’s side are capable of giving anyone a game on their day, so Mourinho won’t be taking them lightly.