Cesar Azpilicueta targeting cup success with Chelsea

Blues remain in the Europa League and FA Cup

Cesar Azpilicueta believes Chelsea face a key week of knockout competition with the first leg of the Europa League clash at Sparta Prague followed by the FA Cup fourth-round replay with Brentford.

The Blues' defence of the Champions League title won last May ended limply before Christmas, but now their attention turns to the Europa League last-32 in Prague on Thursday night.

"We want to play every few days because it means we are still in competitions," Azpilicueta, who impressed in Saturday's 4-1 Barclays Premier League defeat of Wigan, said on chelseafc.com.

"It is very important for the team to keep going in the Europa League and the FA Cup.

"It is true the Europa League is not the same as the Champions League because that is the top but the Europa League is a big competition, an important competition, and now we have the chance to win it.

"Never in the history of Chelsea have we won this cup and we are going to try to do it."

European Cup-winning manager Roberto Di Matteo was replaced by interim boss Rafael Benitez when Chelsea failed to advance from the Champions League group stages.

Chelsea have struggled for positive results in recent weeks, including drawing at npower League One Brentford, resulting in this week's replay.

Azpilicueta, though, is confident Benitez's methods are working.

"The first months I was here we had Roberto [Di Matteo] with us and now Rafa came here and we are working very hard with him," added Azpilicueta, who won his first cap for Spain last week.

"We are trying to do the things that he asks and I think that we are playing well and doing the right things.

"When we have lost we have done a good game but when you make mistakes you pay.

"When you don't win it is difficult but hopefully we now recover the smile that is important for the team and for the future."

PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links