Azpilicueta admits to Lampard ‘tension’ but takes aim at baffling reports

Jonny Whitfield

Chelsea full-back Cesar Azpilicueta has insisted that clashes between himself and Antonio Rudiger did not play a direct role in Frank Lampard’s sacking.

The Blues dismissed Lampard on Monday following a downturn in form; Chelsea had won only two of their last eight Premier League games under the 42-year-old.

However, reports claimed that deeper issues caused the manager’s downfall. Indeed, The Telegraph and The Athletic both reported that Azpilicueta and centre-back Rudiger took issue with each other.

Azpilicueta and striker Tammy Abraham took to social media to rubbish such stories soon after they emerged.

But the former player has given an interview to The Telegraph to set the record straight.

“With Toni, we didn’t have an issue and we have been working together for a few years,” the Spaniard said.

“That news from outside, we’re not sure so that’s why Tammy and myself we both tweeted. Everything is fine and I can say that didn’t happen. We didn’t have any issues and we don’t have. We always work together.

“As other players, we have sometimes our discussions, normal in football.

When results are not going well, everybody has more tension around but nothing further than this.

“Normal footballers like normal workers in their offices or with other jobs with pressure who have to deliver and nothing further than this. There is not an issue, we are so committed.”

Thomas Tuchel replaced Lampard in the Stamford Bridge dugout and handed both players an immediate start in Wednesday’s draw with Wolves.

Rudiger struggled for game time under Lampard, who preferred Kurt Zouma alongside Thiago Silva at the back.

Indeed, the German initially sought a move away in the last transfer window before deciding to stay put. But he will be hoping that his return to the team is a sign of things to come.

Tuchel reveals classy Lampard gesture

Thomas Tuchel press pic via YouTube

Meanwhile, Tuchel took his first pre-match press conference as Chelsea manager on Thursday.

The briefing was capped off by a quiz on his comments about Tottenham back in 2016.

However, Tuchel also spoke about Lampard’s sacking.

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