‘He’s a legend’: Thomas Tuchel salutes Chelsea FC star after 2-1 victory over Lille
Thomas Tuchel singles out Cesar Azpilicueta for special praise after he helped to fire Chelsea FC into the Champions League quarter-finals
Thomas Tuchel singled out Cesar Azpilicueta for special praise after he helped to fire Chelsea FC into the quarter-finals of the Champions League during the 2-1 win over Lille on Wednesday night.
The Blues came from a goal down in France to claim victory and secure their spot in the draw for the last eight of Europe’s elite club competition.
Burak Yilmaz netted a penalty for the home side in the 38th minute after Jorginho handled the ball in the box.
However, the south west London side fought back before half-time, with Christian Pulisic netting just before the break.
Blues captain Azpilicueta then secured a win on the night – and a 4-1 aggregate triumph – when he tapped home in the 71st minute.
Tuchel was delighted by Azpilicueta’s performance on Wednesday night and praised the Spaniard in his post-match news conference.
“He is maybe the perfect example to describe as a person and as a leader what we are doing,” Tuchel said of Azpilicueta. “He is just doing what he is doing and he’s doing it in good times and in bad times, when he’s a regular player and when he’s a regular starter.
“He’s doing the same thing over and over again when he has personally maybe a period where he suffers a bit, maybe he’s not playing regularly.
“He needs to play all the time wing-back, which is maybe not his very best position, but he’s there and he just lives on a daily basis what it takes to be Chelsea captain. He’s a legend already in the club and this is what we need. I don’t think we need extra, extra, extra at the moment.
“We just need a reliable attitude, reliable teamwork, reliable spirit and this is what we have and what we rely on and Azpi is a huge part of that.”
The 32-year-old’s contract at Chelsea FC is set to expire in the summer and it remains to be seen whether he will still be at the club next season.
Azpilicueta has scored two goals and made three assists in 34 games in all competitions for the Blues this term.
Tuchel also revealed his delight at seeing the defending champions through to the last eight despite the turbulence at the club in recent days.
“I’m happy that we are in the last eight again and there were a lot of things to overcome,” said Tuchel. “I’m so happy and so proud, it’s a brilliant result.
“We are into the quarter-finals and this is a big step. We showed resilience, a strong mentality and overcame a lot of difficulties and we did what was necessary.
“We dug in and got a deserved win. It’s a difficult place to come to but we did what was needed and full credit to the team.
“I’m so happy that we had so many fans here, they travelled over and supported the team so well. All the fans who were here with us were brilliant.”