Current Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta believes that Frank Lampard has brought unity to Chelsea, and recognises that feeling was not there last season under Maurizio Sarri.
The current Europa League winners are under a transfer embargo, meaning that they cannot sign any players in this window.
There have been many negatives for the club since the season finished, with Eden Hazard leaving for Real Madrid, and letting their now former manager Maurizio Sarri leave for Juventus.
But one move that the club have taken to maintain some positivity around the squad and in the fanbase during this difficult time was appointing Frank Lampard as the new manager.
Unity is the key...
And one positive effect of that move from Chelsea was the unity it has brought to the fanbase and the dressing room. The majority of the fanbase are willing to give him time, and the players are already talking about how excited they are to play under the 'legend'- as Pedro called him in a recent interview.
Lampard's tenure began yesterday, with his side drawing 1-1 with Irish side Bohemians.
After the game, when Azpilicueta was asked about how big a factor unity is in success, this is what he had to say.
“That feeling can be massive,” said Azpilicueta, who is expected to captain Lampard’s team. “It is true that last season, for periods, we didn’t give the fans what they expected. Our performances were not good enough and the reason they were not happy and negative.
“We turned it around and won the Europa League but you can see that this season all of the fans are very happy we have the gaffer back at the Bridge. Now we have to give it back by working hard on the pitch, by winning games. We are very happy to have him with us. I can’t add anything to his career at Chelsea as a player. But, over his first week in training, I’ve seen the way he wants to play, the way he wants us to feel the shirt, the way he wants us to train every day ... it is something special.
“He was here for a very long and very successful period, and always set an example: how he wanted to break every record or improve himself in every session. To ‘feel the shirt’ was to go every day into Cobham to be better, to train hard, to behave on and off the pitch. We have to be grateful and feel the passion for the shirt. We are very excited and the only way we can carry it on is by winning together, getting the feeling back of being all together as a club. We have to take responsibility and know that there are a lot of things [going on] around us, but we have to work hard to get better.”
Life goes on...
Chelsea next play on Saturday against Irish side St Patrick's Athletic. Lampard will have from over 30 players to choose from for this game, due to more first-team players joining the squad.
But despite this blow of their best player leaving, Azpilicueta believes that there is acceptance within the squad that life has to move on without their star man.
“Since I came here we’ve had people leave every season: Lampard, John Terry, Didier Drogba, Ashley Cole, Petr Cech,” Azpilicueta said. “We could never imagine a Chelsea side winning a trophy without those quality players, and always knew replicating the success of the great players would be difficult.
“But every year we’ve had the chance to bring trophies back to the Bridge. Now we have something unusual – the transfer ban – which gives a chance for a lot of young players, players coming back from loan. Sarri is gone, his choice, and now we have to move on. We’re not going to win anything thinking about the past or complaining.”