Skip to main content

Chelsea belong in the Champions League, insists Cesar Azpilicueta

Cesar Azpilicueta

Cesar Azpilicueta has praised his Chelsea team-mates after a 2-1 victory over Lille secured their place in the knockout stage of the Champions League.

Azpilicueta and Tammy Abraham were on target as Frank Lampard's secured the win that saw them finish in the top two of Group H.

The Blues will now take part in the round of 16 for only the second time in four seasons, having won the Europa League last term and been completely absent from continental competition in 2016/17.

And Azpilicueta insists Chelsea are at home in Europe's biggest competition, as they seek to progress to the quarter-finals for the first time since 2013/14.

"The Champions League is where Chelsea belong," Azpilicueta told BT Sport. "We know it was a tough group - last year's semi-finalists Ajax have been knocked out.

"We had to fight and recover after losing against Valencia at home in our first game. But now we are in the last 16 the focus has to switch back to the Premier League until the competition starts again next year."

Abraham took his goal tally to 13 for the season with his effort against Lille, which was his second strike in the Champions League this campaign.

And the England international is looking forward to continuing to test himself in Europe when the knockout stage begins in February.

"I'm very excited to be in the next round," he said. "We came into the match needing to win and thankfully we did. Now I can't wait for the next round.

"It's just about getting into the box. Luckily for me I was in the right place at the right time.

"For us it is about sticking with it. We started so well, sometimes we just need to kill off games and to do that we need to score more goals."

Chelsea will be looking to bounce back from last weekend's defeat by Everton when they return to Premier League action against Bournemouth on Saturday.


Ansu Fati becomes youngest Champions League goalscorer – but what happened to the others?

Andy Mitten column: How Solskjaer is building his Manchester United team around Marcus Rashford

Leicester are acting like a big club without the entitlement – and that's perfect for Brendan Rodgers