Cesar Azpilicueta provides damning insight on Frank Lampard’s Chelsea reign

Cesar Azpilicueta has condemned former Chelsea boss Frank Lampard by claiming "everything has improved" under his successor, Thomas Tuchel.

Lampard was dismissed from the Stamford Bridge hot seat in January with the Blues ninth in the table after a dismal run of five defeats in eight Premier League games.

Chelsea's form has improved drastically since Tuchel's appointment and they now sit fifth with four wins in six top-flight outings under the German.

Azpilicueta believes Chelsea are much harder to break down under Tuchel compared to his predecessor and is delighted to have closed the gap on the top four to two points.

"Six weeks ago we weren't at our best. Now with Tuchel everything has improved," the Blues captain told Mundo Deportivo .

"The team has better feelings. Although the Premier has nothing to do with it, reaching the Champions League on a roll is good news.

"The solidity has recovered, fewer opportunities are granted and that speaks of the work of the group, from the first attacker to the last defender.

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"With the new coach we try to control the games with and without the ball."

Azpilicueta often had to settle for a spot on the bench under Lampard but has played 90 minutes in every league game since Tuchel took over.

The Spaniard has fond memories of his two seasons playing alongside ex-midfielder Lampard but admits his position became untenable in west London.

Did Lampard overlook Azpilicueta during his time as Chelsea boss? Have your say in the comments.

He added: "The results just weren't good. Frank has been a myth as a footballer, I was lucky enough to share a dressing room with him and after he trained me, but (Roman) Abramovich and his executive were the ones who decided to change course."

Chelsea begin their Champions League knock-out stage campaign against Atletico Madrid in the last 16 on Tuesday.

Speaking ahead of the first leg, Azpilicueta said he is delighted to have re-established himself as a regular in the starting XI after he was left "hurt" by Lampard's team selections.

"It becomes more complicated when one is used to playing," said Azpilicueta. "It was not a scenario, much less desired, but I respected the coach and tried to help from the outside. I stayed calm and prepared to enter when necessary.

"You always want to play and it hurts to be a substitute, but as captain I put the collective interest first because I don't consider myself a selfish footballer."

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