César Azpilicueta is worried that opposing teams no longer fear a visit to Stamford Bridge as he told his Chelsea teammates it was imperative they regained their self-respect. Chelsea slumped to a 2-0 home defeat against Southampton on Boxing Day and the west London club have now lost three of their past four home games in the Premier League, with the Southampton result following the 1-0 defeats against West Ham and Bournemouth.
Chelsea make the short trip to Arsenal on Sunday and the difference between their home and away form has been a feature of the season. They have often laboured at Stamford Bridge and have scored twice as many goals in their away matches.
Ralph Hasenhüttl, the Southampton manager, said he had been encouraged by the results of West Ham and Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge, suggesting there was an emerging blueprint to derail Chelsea at home.
Azpilicueta said: “It’s true that when teams see we have not won games, they come here with more confidence because they see they can do it. So forget tactics. Everything is about recovering the respect at home, being solid at home, because it is not normal to lose so many games in your stadium.
“I don’t think the pressure of playing at home should be negative. It should be the opposite. We have the players, we have the quality and we have to turn it around straight away. The lesson has been very harsh – losing three [recent] games and scoring zero goals.”
Against Southampton, Chelsea did not create a single clear-cut chance and it was not the first time they had struggled to break down teams that compressed the space and looked to hurt them on the counterattack.
“It’s difficult to understand why this is happening because normally at home you find teams a bit more defensive, we can enjoy more time on the ball and you can create more chances,” Azpilicueta added. “It’s up to us. When you play at home it is not about the rival, it is about yourself – about moving the ball quick to find the spaces, to create chances and give the fans and ourselves a lift.”