Cesar Azpilicueta backs Chelsea team-mate after Conte axe


Relief will have been the overwhelming emotion as Chelsea ended their poor run of form with a 2-0 win over Hull City.

After two Premier League defeats in a row, Antonio Conte’s side went into the game at the KCOM Stadium under huge pressure.

Conte was willing to ring the changes to ensure his side travelled back to London with all three points, dropping the veteran Branislav Ivanovic, despite the defender being a big favourite of owner Roman Abramovich.

Given the reportedly strained relationship between manager and owner of late, that was a bold call, but it was one that paid off.

Many Chelsea fans will have been delighted to see Conte switching to a back three, with the Serbian defender the notable absentee.

It’s several years since Ivanovic was actively dropped at the club, and it’s now unclear whether he has any real future at Stamford Bridge.

All the same, team-mate Cesar Azpilicueta has come out and done the decent thing, backing the full-back to make a return to the side sooner rather than later.

“He is our vice-captain,” he said of Ivanovic, as per ESPN.

“I have played with him since I arrived here four years ago and I know how important he is for us, the way he is working in every training session.


“Now it’s time to work together and I am sure he will be a big part of the team.”

Abramovich has been visiting Chelsea’s Cobham training ground since the 3-0 defeat to Arsenal, and having observed Conte’s sessions, it may well be that the Russian gave the green light for Ivanovic to be dropped.

Now that Chelsea are back to winning ways, there should be no pressure on Conte to change anything, even if that means dropping his vice-captain again.

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