Cesar Azpilicueta has joined a growing band of Chelsea affiliates to defend Mason Mount after Jose Mourinho questioned the young midfielder’s performance against Manchester United.
Mount made his competitive first-team debut for the Blues at Old Trafford on Sunday but saw his side thrashed 4-0 by a rampant Man Utd.
Mourinho’s comments: Five things to know…
- Lampard took charge of his first competitive Chelsea match on Sunday.
- The record-goalscorer decided to omit a number of experienced players from his starting XI.
- This drew backlash from Mourinho, who questioned the inclusion of Mount and Tammy Abraham.
- Lampard responded by suggesting Chelsea were the better side and hence, his team selection was vindicated.
- Azpilicueta has also chimed in with a defence of his own, stating that the duo “deserve” to be in the first-team.
The 20-year-old started in the No. 10 position, while the likes of N’Golo Kante, Marcos Alonso and Olivier Giroud took their place on the bench, sparking criticism from Mourinho in the immediate aftermath.
The ex-Chelsea manager probed Lampard’s decision to choose youth over experience in such an important match, but Azpilicueta has since leapt to his boss’ defence, insisting the likes of Mount “deserve” to be in the first-team.
“If they are here it is because they deserve to be,” said Azpilicueta. “They are fighting in every training session. We trust in them.
“All the boys, they train to play for the Chelsea first team since they were young and now we have a massive opportunity to create a fantastic group, to learn from every game.
“Obviously everyone would like to start in a better way but we have to face the reality and become stronger from it.”
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Lampard responds to Mourinho
Azpilicueta’s comments come after Lampard also hit back at Mourinho for suggesting his former player was naive to exclude so much experience from his opening XI.
Working as a studio pundit for Sky Sports, Mourinho initially stated that Chelsea lacked “internationals” and “big players”, whilst also name-checking Mount.
But Lampard was not impressed with his ex-boss’ assessment of his playing squad, responding: “He didn’t like the performance of Mason Mount? Did he say Mason Mount?
“We were clearly the better team for 45 or even 60 minutes, but we made individual errors that led to four goals from five shots — that’s the harsh reality,” Lampard said.
“I don’t have to be too concerned about what anyone else says, the pundits, but what is clear is the squad is the squad we’ve got and I believe in it.”