Cesar Azpilicueta inherited Chelsea’s winning DNA the moment he walked into a dressing room full of Champions League winners.
Azpilicueta, 31, joined Chelsea in the summer of 2012 when the club had just been crowned European champions – and they have carried on winning trophies ever since.
Chelsea captain Azpilicueta has won two Premier League titles, one FA Cup, a League Cup and two Europa Leagues while Thomas Tuchel is the EIGHTH manager he has played under.
There is no club quite Chelsea when it comes to winning but that mentality was driven into him from the very first day he arrived at the club.
Azpilicueta said: “Chelsea has a DNA of winning and since I came here in 2012 I felt the demand of winning trophies, that’s what it’s all about, when we are not having a good season we have a change of managers, but I always felt it’s all about winning.
“When you jump into a dressing room which had just been crowned champions of Europe, what it meant for Chelsea and for the owner after such a long time, you see the big personalities like Frank Lampard, John Terry, Ashley Cole, Petr Cech, Ivanovic.
“You learn from them every day in training. How they achieve. You ask yourself: ‘how they do that? How they win so many trophies?’
“When you step on the pitch, you see them training every day, then you see why they were is successful. They give everything every day.
“It’s important that new players, when they come, they feel that straight away because there is not a lot of time and we all want to be successful as soon as possible and we don’t know how many opportunities we have to win trophies.
“Also, the academy, they know what it means, Chelsea, winning trophies. So all the mix, I think it’s important that we get this feeling and we get the winning mentality that’s so important.”
Azpilicueta has been through the likes of Jose Mourinho, Guus Hiddink, Antonio Conte and Frank Lampard before Tuchel took charge in January because when the club looks like it it might not win they bring in the next manager.
It is a formula which will not please everyone in football but has definitely worked for Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich and Tuchel is as animated in training as he is when hugging his players at the end of matches.
“And he shouts as well!” laughed Azpilicueta. “You know, communication is not only hugs. Of course we only had one training session before the first game. He made it very clear what he wanted from the team and what he wanted from me as a part of the team and a captain.
“I had a few different managers, everybody is different. He is very expressive, very active, I think his focus is in every action, when a player is out of position, he’s very demanding in this case because when you are fighting for success there is such little room for mistakes.”
Lampard’s last Premier League in charge was a 2-0 defeat at Leicester in January and Chelsea also have a score to settle in the FA Cup, having lost last year’s final to Arsenal when Azpilicueta limped off before half time with a hamstring injury.
There is also the race for a place in the top four and the Champions League final. “There is a big two weeks of games but we have to be positive, starting on Saturday.
“You don’t need extra motivation in the FA Cup final when you know how special it is for the country and for my club. But when you have a bad feeling from last season you want to come back.
“It was the same when we lost the final in 2017 and we came back the following year and we won the Cup. I hope this year we can replicate that. It’s a bad feeling when you arrive in the final and don’t win, and we want to be successful this season.”