Club captain Cesar Azpilicueta has emphasised the importance of Chelsea’s upcoming fixture against Tottenham, marking it as an opportunity to prove that the Blues are the number one London side.
The two teams are emerging as the greatest threats to Liverpool’s title defence this season and will hope to make their ambitions clear in a highly-anticipated London derby on Sunday.
Tottenham currently sit at the top of the table, but with Chelsea only two points behind and Liverpool ravaged with injuries, the importance of this game could not be overstated for Frank Lampard who could well become the first English manager to lift the Premier League trophy.
“It’s one of those kinds of games when you usually feel a special atmosphere at the Bridge,” Azpilicueta said, as quoted by The Telegraph.
“Every year is different and we had a very good record against them until two or three seasons ago when we lost, but, hopefully, we can keep beating them at the Bridge.
“Since I arrived at Chelsea, I always tried to have the winning mentality of every game to finish at the top for the top trophies. That includes being the top team in London and we want to be at the top because that means we are the number ones. That’s what we fight for. We are in good form and, hopefully, we can improve on last season and now reach higher levels.”
The return of former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho – who won six major trophies across two spells at the club – at Stamford Bridge will exacerbate the tensions in a fixture that has always been fiercely-fought.
Frank Lampard, his so-called ‘apprentice’, is the only manager to have beaten Jose Mourinho home and away in a league season, having completed the double over Tottenham last year, and will be confident that he can repeat himself this time around.
“That’s football,” said Azpilicueta on facing his former manager. “I think Jose has a great history in Chelsea, but after, football moves on.
“We played against him when he was in Manchester United and now he’s in Tottenham. Obviously, we are professional and we want our team to win and, obviously, I’m sure Jose will want the same as us which is to win the game.
“Any game against Tottenham is always a big derby, we know that everybody wants to be part of it. Both teams, we are in really good form. Whatever happens, there is still a long season ahead.
“But obviously, in such a big game like this, with both teams coming in this form, it’s an important game for everybody and, hopefully, we will be at our best because we will need to be.”