Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Azpilicueta backs Barkley after penalty miss

SoccerNews in La Liga 17 Sep 2019

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Cesar Azpilicueta has full confidence in Ross Barkley despite his late penalty miss in Chelsea’s 1-0 Champions League defeat to Valencia.

Rodrigo Moreno’s goal looked set to be cancelled out when the referee awarded Frank Lampard’s Chelsea a penalty following a VAR check on Daniel Wass’ handball. 

Barkley, who had only been on the pitch for seven minutes, stepped up for the spot-kick, taking rank over Chelsea team-mates Jorginho, Willian and Olivier Giroud in London on Tuesday.

Willian and Jorginho, in particular, were speaking with Barkley before he took the penalty, which clipped the crossbar on its way over in the Group H opener.

But Chelsea captain Azpilicueta insisted his team-mates were simply encouraging Barkley, not debating over who should take responsibility.

“Ross is one of the best penalty takers in the team, he’s one of the players that take them,” Azpilicueta said.

“He had the confidence to shoot, he has taken a few penalties which he has scored.

“We had more players with great capabilities from penalties but he had good confidence to shoot, he was unlucky to hit the bar and obviously he is disappointed to not get the goal to at least get a point.

“They were encouraging [him] to have the confidence to score, he had high expectation and high confidence to score, so we tried to give him the best conditions because we knew it would be decisive, sometimes it happens. We are lucky we have a lot of penalty takers.”

Mason Mount’s early injury added further frustration to a disappointing night for Chelsea, with the midfielder likely facing a race against time to be fit to feature against Liverpool – who were beaten 2-0 by Napoli – in the Premier League on Sunday.

Azpilicueta, however, firmly believes in the project Lampard – who is yet to secure his first home win as Chelsea head coach – is trying to implement at Stamford Bridge, despite a lack of experience within the Blues’ ranks.

“We are trying to build something special, we know we have a young squad, young players coming through and experienced players in the team to try and create something for the future,” Azpilicueta added.

“We are Chelsea, we also need to win and win every game every few days we play. When we don’t win we get frustrated, disappointed and it’s a lesson we have to learn as a team.”

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