Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Azpilicueta issues Chelsea rallying cry for improvement after points dropped again

SoccerNews in English Premier League 1 Jan 2023

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Chelsea must stick together to keep their top-four hopes alive this season, with Cesar Azpilicueta calling on his team-mates to staunch their loss of points.

The Blues slipped to a draw against Nottingham Forest on Sunday, as Serge Aurier cancelled out Raheem Sterling’s opener in a 1-1 encounter.

It leaves Graham Potter’s side with just one win in their past five Premier League games, and with a seven-point gap to fourth-place Manchester United.

With only 25 points this season, Chelsea are slipping away from Champions League qualification contention, but Azpilicueta issued a cry to turn matters around.

“Every point matters, and today we lost two points, that’s clear,” he told Sky Sports. “Since the beginning of the season, we [have] lost too many points.

“Now we are far from where we want to be, and every game you don’t win is a chance that you miss. This is the reality when you see the table, that’s where we are.

“We need to have a very good second half of the season if we want to achieve Champions League for next season. We have to stick together.

“We know this is not the most pleasant time, but in these difficult moments, we need everybody to stick together, to work hard, to improve, to be humble.”

Sterling’s early goal had looked to put Chelsea in firm control at the City Ground, but Steve Cooper’s under-fire hosts bounced back in the second half.

With nine shots against one from the Blues after the interval, Forest earned their equaliser, and Azpilicueta acknowledges his side let the game slip away.

“They were putting more pressure [on us] and we were not able to escape,” he added. “They created a few chances, and we lost two points.

“We were not able to find the right space to calm down their reaction. We were not able to manage that kind of situations.”

Chelsea will regather themselves next for back-to-back clashes with Manchester City, facing Pep Guardiola’s side in the Premier League and FA Cup next week.

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