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“Now is different” – Chelsea star reveals the difficulties in leading the team behind closed doors

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Cesar Azpilicueta can step in at left-back too when needed (Getty Images)

Cesar Azpilicueta opens up on life as a captain behind closed doors

Speaking to the club’s official site, Cesar Azpilicueta has opened up on his experiences as a captain as football thrives behind closed doors.

The Chelsea skipper has had to adjust to the new normal as football returned following a three-month hiatus. With Chelsea extending their lead in fourth place, it is fair to say he has adjusted quite well to the nature of his responsibilities.

The 30-year-old admits the combination of social distancing and its effect on the captain’s responsibilities in the build-up to kick-off have forced him to change how he gets ready for games.

“I like to prepare for the game in a certain way, with my own preparations, but now is different.”

Cesar Azpilicueta has opened up on his new roles as a captain amidst lockdown
Cesar Azpilicueta is adjusting to the new normal

Azpilicueta not only has to keep his players motivated and spirits up but also handle less glamorous parts such as referee meetings.

“You have extra responsibilities and I try to do them the best I can.”

He has urged his teammates to cope with the new normal as he believes the quicker they do it, the quicker the team can take the initiative.

“The team that adapts quicker and better to this new situation will have an advantage over the opponents.”

Azpilicueta has led from the front
Azpilicueta has led from the front (Image Credits: Getty Images)

Azpilicueta’s words ring true when one considers the vociferous crowds at Premier League games. Playing in a silent stadium can be disquieting, thankfully our players haven’t let it get to them.

They cannot rely on the crowd to give them a lift and will have to showcase their mental strength as we get through this difficult period.

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A captain is also the chief communicator and Azplicueta understands it well. He has made use of applications such as Zoom and Whatsapp to ensure his men are in touch and are aware of what is happening.

The Spaniard has worn the armband with distinction and is someone who leads the team by example. With every passing day, it becomes all the more clearer.

A View From The Bridge

Mourinho brands Chelsea lucky for having a manageable schedule

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Jose Mourinho brands Chelsea lucky for having a manageable schedule

According to The Sun, former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has branded the Blues’ schedule as lucky.

Now in charge at Tottenham Hospur, the Portuguese tactician is orchestrating a title challenge that sees the North Londoners at the top of the Premier League.

Tottenham’s match against Ludogorets takes place tonight, giving them just three days to prepare for the clash against Chelsea. We, on the other hand, have two extra days after playing the Champions League game against Rennes on Tuesday.

Lampard and Mourinho are set to go head to head once again
Lampard and Mourinho are set to go head to head once again

“In that case they were lucky this week that the draw gave them a Tuesday match that will allow them to prepare for the match on Sunday.”

The Spurs boss appears to insinuate that we have been given an advantage due to the extra time off. Mourinho appears to have conveniently forgotten that we travelled to France while his team are playing at home.

Mourinho also scoffed at Klopp’s tirade that TV companies have too much power to affect clubs’ schedules adversely. Despite appearing to complain about the disparity in preparation time, Mourinho also admitted that clubs will have to adapt.

Former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has branded the Blues' schedule as lucky. Spurs have lesser time to prepare for this weekend's fixture.
Jose Mourinho brands the Chelsea schedule lucky

A master of the mind games, it is convenient that he will mention us given both teams are set to face each other on Sunday.

Chelsea have improved in recent weeks and look like a team firing on all cylinders. It can be argued that the match is a potential six-pointer in regards to the title chase.

Mourinho has never beaten a team coached by Lampard (in normal time). His lone victory over the Blues boss came earlier this season the Carabao Cup. The game ended 1-1 with Spurs winning on penalties.

Chelsea look a formidable outfit
Chelsea look a formidable outfit

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For a manager used to the schedule since 2004, Mourinho’s comments seem petulant. If he finds the need to complain after all these years of managing in England, then clearly he is yet to find a solution.

At the very least, he now has an excuse for when we beat him this Sunday.

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Chelsea star seen imparting advice to French wonderkid after UCL clash

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Chelsea ace Kurt Zouma imparts words of wisdom to Eduardo Camavinga

According to Football.london, Chelsea star Kurt Zouma had words of wisdom for Rennes wonderkid Eduardo Camavinga.

The 18-year-old is one of the best young talents in European football. Apart from being a regular for Rennes, he has also played his way into Didier Deschamps’ French national team squad.

Zouma came up against the youngster in our Champions League game on Tuesday. The Blues emerged victorious, thanks to Olivier Giroud’s stoppage-time strike.

Chelsea defender Kurt Zouma gave Eduardo Camavinga a pep talk
Chelsea defender Kurt Zouma gave Eduardo Camavinga a pep talk

And after the game, Zouma was captured by the French TV cameras while giving a two-minute pep-talk to the youngster. The topic appeared to be on where he needs to improve.

While the microphones failed to record the full conversation, they did catch Zouma telling the youngster the perils of losing the ball under pressure.

“When there is pressure, you lose the ball and a goal. Every time it’s like this! It happened against PSG too.”

Camavinga is one of France's finest young talents
Camavinga is one of France’s finest young talents

Rather than a criticism, it appears to be genuine advice from a seasoned professional to a younger prospect. Zouma’s comments could have been directed at Rennes’ 3-0 loss to PSG earlier in the month.

Planned out or just a coincidence?

It is interesting he should know that given we are not scheduled to play PSG anytime soon. It could hint at him watching the youngster’s progress with interest or just something he chanced upon while preparing for the game.

Chelsea defeated Rennes 2-1 on Tuesday
Chelsea defeated Rennes 2-1 on Tuesday

Zouma has emerged into an excellent partner to Thiago Silva this season. The Frenchman has upped his performance levels and is now a key member of our squad.

Chelsea have so far not been linked with a move for Camavinga. If we ever do land him, this could be the moment where we may have made the first move.

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Chelsea new boy reveals the secret behind his instant success at Stamford Bridge

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Edouard Mendy has been a spectacular signing for Chelsea

Edouard Mendy reveals the secret behind his excellent Chelsea start

According to Football.london, Chelsea star Edouard Mendy has revealed the secret behind his strong start to life at the club.

The Senegalese international joined the club from Rennes in the summer. He has quickly put an end to Chelsea’s goalkeeping crisis and holds a solid grip on the number one spot.

Mendy has kept an impressive seven clean sheets in ten games since replacing Kepa Arrizabalaga. Blues boss Frank Lampard finally has a settled number one to go alongside his prolific attack and improving defence.

Edouard Mendy has been spectacular for Chelsea
Edouard Mendy has been spectacular for Chelsea

Mendy has attributed the partnership of Kurt Zouma and Thiago Silva ahead of him as a major factor in his solid performances.

Both players are fluent in French which makes communication easier. Mendy has not played out side France and being able to do so alongside players fluent in his language will come as a comfort.

“Kurt and Thiago they speak French which is good for me, but I can communicate well with the other players too and I am really enjoying it.”

Kurt Zouma and Thiago Silva are fluent in French making communication easier with Edouard MENDY
Kurt Zouma and Thiago Silva are fluent in French (Getty Images)

It is not only the French-speaking players, but everyone at the club has made life easier for the goalkeeper.

“Everyone has done everything to help me integrate as smoothly as possible, the players, the staff, they have all helped me.”

Mendy may not have been our most glamorous signing of the summer. However, there is no question that he has been effective. Actions speak louder than words and Mendy has done his reputation no harm.

Chelea star Kepa Arrizabalaga has reacted well to the signing of Edouard Mendy
Chelea star Kepa Arrizabalaga is the world’s most expensive keeper

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Mendy will face a table-topping Tottenham side this weekend. He will come up against the prolific duo of Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min.

Chelsea will feel much more secure going into such a key matchup with a formidable goalkeeper in place.

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Chelsea set to reward key veteran star with contract extension

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Thiago Silva is already 36 years of age

Chelsea set to extend Thiago Silva stay beyond this season

According to Sky Sports, Chelsea are poised to extend the stay of Thiago Silva at the club.

The 36-year-old signed for the club on a free transfer earlier in the summer. He has since gone on to solidify the backline and convert a major weakness into one of his strengths.

With his performances speaking for themselves, the Blues are keen to keep him on beyond the current season.

Ben Chilwell has heaped praise on Chelsea teammate Thiago Silva
Thiago Silva has been excellent for Chelsea (Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

Silva’s contract has an option to extend his 12-month deal by a further year if he impressed. It would be fair to say he has done just that and more.

According to the report, official discussions with the player are not expected to occur until the new year. Blues boss Frank Lampard believes the 36-year old is a key part of Chelsea’s squad and is keen to keep him at Stamford Bridge for a second season.

Silva’s debut for the club against West Bromwich Albion was a forgettable affair. He was a part of a disjointed backline that conceded three on the night.

Thiago Silva claims to be getting headaches with all the aerial duels in PL
Thiago Silva scored his first goal for Chelsea against Sheffield

Things have only improved since then. The Blues have conceded just once in the four league games Silva has played since.

This defensive solidity has seen us rise steadily up the table. We can overtake current table-toppers Tottenham if we beat them this weekend.

Despite his age, Silva’s experience and leadership skills have proven to be a gamechanger for the Chelsea rearguard.

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 22: Frank Lampard manager of Chelsea celebrates his teams victory over Spurs during the Premier League match between Chelsea FC and Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge on February 22, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Chelsea’s defence has turned a corner in recent weeks (GETTY Images)

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Silva’s performances have not gone unnoticed. His effect has been so profound that he has even changed the mind of his detractors.

Chelsea icon Joe Cole, who had his doubts, is now a self-confessed convert. If he keeps impressing as he has done so far, there is no reason why he should not continue wearing blue.

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