Cesar Azpilicueta praises "great spirit and mentality" of Chelsea's young players

Cesar Azpilicueta

Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta has praised the maturity shown by the club's young players this season.

Frank Lampard has integrated a number of academy graduates into the first-team squad this term, including Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount, Fikayo Tomori and Reece James.

All four players featured in Sunday's 2-0 triumph over Tottenham, a result which moved Chelsea four points clear of the chasing pack in the race for the top four.

And Azpilicueta believes the Blues' youngsters have shown tremendous character in the last few months.

“We cannot forget the young players and where they were last year when they were playing a different competition and they were playing in different circumstances," he told the club's official website.

“We know that Chelsea requires the highest level in every game and that means playing every three days in the Champions League and in the Premier League, every game fighting to win and be at the top, so we have to respect that and the young players have shown great spirit and great mentality to grow day by day, together with the staff and with the coach.

“We the senior players try to help them as much as possible but they have shown great strength and it is one more step towards their development. I am very pleased with the whole team.

“We have been conceding a lot of goals, we did not win points, it is a fact that we lost many games for Chelsea and now we have come to Tottenham to play a team that were in good form and we showed great spirit, we fought and we know what it means for the fans and for all of us. That spirit made a huge difference in the game.

“It feels very good for us, for the fans, to come here and win after a run that was not the best, and to keep a clean sheet. It is a very good win.

"We prepared very well during the week, we knew that we were coming to play against a tough team but we did our job, we knew that we had to recover that fighting spirit and that it was a London derby with what that means to everybody in Chelsea.

“We did very well, with the quality we have in the team like with Willian with these two goals and every piece of football he did in the game was amazing. We fought and we played some very good football. It is due to the whole team doing an amazing job and I am very happy with it.”

Chelsea host Southampton on Boxing Day, before a trip across London to Arsenal next weekend.

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