Chelsea feeling 'love' in Singapore, preparing for title defence - Azpilicueta
SINGAPORE -- Cesar Azpilicueta has told ESPN FC that Chelsea must learn from the mistakes of their last title defence if they are to retain the Premier League crown they won so emphatically last season.
Chelsea romped to the 2014-15 title, finishing eight points clear of Manchester City, but the following season they managed only a 10th-place finish and were just a point above the relegation zone in December, a set of circumstances that new Chelsea vice-captain Azpilicueta wants to avoid a repeat of.
"We have to learn from the experience when we won the league three years ago and then had a terrible season, so we know that's what we have to work at," the defender said. "We know that being champions, every team will want to beat us even more, so we have to be strong enough to try to maintain our position."
One player who can help them do that is Azpilicueta's international teammate with Spain, Alvaro Morata, who joined from Real Madrid last week.
"It's a big signing for the club," Azpilicueta said. "What we can expect is his work-rate and the job he's going to do for the team. I hope he can adapt as quickly as possible to the Premier League and score goals, which is the main job of any striker."
Azpilicueta is known for being versatile in defence and, though often used as a full-back, looks equally comfortable as part of a three-man central defence. However, he was reluctant to identify a preference.
"To play is my favourite position," Azpilicueta said. "I always have the confidence of the manager and I always try to learn and improve and to give everything for the team in whatever the position is."
Azpilicueta is enjoying his time in Asia and has been particularly impressed with the response of the fans.
"It has been a very good trip," Azpilicueta said. "We are enjoying the welcome from our fans in both countries and we are pleased to come to China and Singapore and to have the love from all of them."
Bangkok-based Paul Murphy has lived in Asia for a decade, writing for ESPN FC since 2014. He is a former Daily Express sub-editor. @PaulMurphyBKK