Former Chelsea favourite Willian has urged new Stamford Bridge boss Graham Potter to lean on the experience and know-how of club skipper Cesar Azpilicueta.
The Spaniard has won every trophy possible during his impressive 10-year stint in west London. However, he came very close to leaving the club for Barcelona over the summer.
However, Willian believes Azpilicueta can be a key figure in the early stages of the Todd Boehly, Potter era.
A Boehly-Clearlake consortium bought Chelsea from long-time owner Roman Abramovich earlier in the year. And German Thomas Tuchel did not last long under the American after he was sacked and replaced Potter early in the current campaign.
And when asked about all the changes at his old club, Willian told The Athletic: “I couldn’t believe it when this situation happened.
“For me, when you talk about Chelsea, you just see Roman and Marina [Granovskaia]. It’s been difficult for everyone inside the club.
“But this is where Cesar Azpilicueta will help. He is a very good player, an important one for the club. He’s been there for 10 years. With his experience, he can help the young players that play there at the moment.
“He knows what to do in this situation. Chelsea is a big club, one of the best in the world. Every year, Chelsea are fighting for something, even if they change a manager.
“They are always there. In the seven years I was there, I had Jose Mourinho, Guus Hiddink, Antonio Conte, Maurizio Sarri and Frank Lampard. It almost become normal. But it didn’t stop us, we always fought for something.”
Willian made in excess of 300 appearances for Chelsea, winning two league titles in that time.
At this stage, it remains to be seen what sort of role Azpilicueta will have under Potter. However, he did start the new man’s first game at the helm, the Champions League draw with RB Salzburg.
Potter impact already being felt
While that game produced a disappointing result, former Blues winger Shaun Wright-Phillips saw enough positives for Potter to take things forward.
He told the BBC Radio 5 Live’s Football Daily podcast: “Clearly, they are heading in the right direction. They created a lot more and came close to winning.
“It’s onwards and upwards for Chelsea and for me, it’s nothing but positive that he’s the manager.
“Every game in this competition is difficult but they know what they have to do. They have to go and win so they will have that mindset.
“As long as they’re creating chances, they have the quality to put them away. They just have to keep taking it step by step.”
Chelsea are not back in action until October 1 when they face Crystal Palace in Potter’s first game in charge.
They saw their last two Premier League outings were postponed following the death of the Queen.
The Blues currently sit seventh in the table, but are already eight points behind leaders with a game in hand.