Cesar Azpilicueta linked up with his team-mates following international duty on Thursday, and told our in-house channel how much he enjoyed the atmosphere at Cobham.
The full-back was the latest player to join Chelsea TV live on air for a phone-in, and spent an hour discussing all things blue with host Ben Andrews and a number of callers, while also taking questions from Twitter.
Having recently made an international debut for Spain, Azpilicueta was in the squad with Juan Mata for games against Finland and France in the last week.
‘It was my second time with the national team, and I was very happy to be there. I didn’t play but enjoyed the games,’ he said.
‘After the draw against Finland, which nobody expected, we needed to win in Paris against France and we did a very good game with a 1-0 win. It was really tough.’
He is now reunited with the Chelsea squad and looking ahead to Southampton tomorrow and Manchester United on Monday.
‘It’s not too easy because everybody comes from a long trip, and is a little bit tired,’ he explained. ‘It’s strange because they were training for 10 days with a few players. [On Thursday] everybody was there and it was very nice because everybody was talking about the games and the places they were.’
Full focus is now on a busy period that brings six games in 16 days.
‘Everybody wants to play these kind of games. We are in the last weeks of the season playing for trophies,’ he said. ‘It is the best time in the season when you arrive at the end. We are playing against big teams with the pressure everybody wants.
‘It’s important to manage the squad because we play a lot of games. We need to be 100 per cent, so the manager is changing some players. But you can’t change 11 players. For me I don’t have a problem, I want to play every game but we are a team and you cannot play every game.’
Azpilicueta also revealed he began his professional career as a winger, and only converted to right-back after making his senior debut for Osasuna away to Real Madrid.
‘When I arrived at Osasuna when I was 12 I was a striker, then I went to the right wing,’ he said. ‘I played there in the second team, and on the left wing, left-back, and played my first few games for the first team on the right wing, and after that moved to right-back.
‘Two years in France with Marseille helped me a lot. I learned a lot of things that I can now do in England. I like to go forward but really enjoy defending also.’
Training at Cobham will bring back certain difficult memories of France, having had to mark Lille’s Eden Hazard in the previous two seasons.
‘The two years I was in France he was the best player in the whole league,’ Azpilicueta said. He is 22 and a very good player. Playing against him was difficult. They won the league the first year, and he is still improving.
‘He can make the difference in one action. He creates chances, score goals. If he carries on like this he could be one of the best.’
You can see more from Chelsea TV with an online subscription, including today’s NextGen semi-final against Arsenal from Lake Como, from 4.30pm.