Chelsea manager Graham Potter has provided an update to the head injury suffered by team captain Cesar Azpilicueta in their 1 – 0 home loss to bottom of the table Southampton.
A first half stoppage time free kick from maestro James Ward-Prowse was enough to give the Saints the lead and eventual win, but the loss was overshadowed by the injury that Azpilicueta suffered in the second half. Chelsea’s captain took a boot to the face from Sekou Mara in the 74th minute, delaying the game for close to 10 minutes.
Chelsea, however, were unable to muster a comeback before and after the injury, even with 14 minutes added on to regular time.
It was a disappointing night for the Blues who had spent so much on transfers, giving the fans hope that they will be getting back to the pinnacle of English football soon. It was also a disappointing outing for Potter who has already lost favour with the fans, some sections of which are calling on the board to replace him before the end of the season.
Although he still maintains the confidence of the board, he is aware of how much pressure the team is under to deliver because that pressure rests solely on him.
His focus at his post-match press conference, however, was on his injured captain, one whose situation he provided an update.
“He’s in hospital, so he’s in the best place,” said the former Brighton and Hove Albion manager. “He’s conscious and he was speaking to his wife so that’s good. We were obviously really concerned, especially when it first happened, but hopefully he’s in the best place and we’ll keep monitoring him.
“I think he was unconscious when it happened so we have to take all the precautions we need to take now and make sure he’s okay, but it was worrying. It was a horrible incident.”
The 47-year-old then admitted that the game was not what he expected after their outing in Germany which saw them lose to Borussia Dortmund in the UEFA Champions League.
“I think the truth is we took a step back in performance, especially in the first half,” he began. “It was a below-par performance in the first half. Returning from the Champions League and we had to make a couple of changes so you lose a bit of fluidity, you lose a bit of cohesion.
“Southampton set up with a plan and an idea, they mixed up the game well with a big target man, but our performance wasn’t what we wanted in the first half and I take as much responsibility as anyone for that.
“The response in the second half was good but it wasn’t good enough. I thought we deserved a goal. We created enough chances, good enough chances, to score but when we don’t then obviously it’s difficult to win football matches.
“When we’ve lost 1-0 at home to Southampton and, with the greatest respect to them, it’s not good enough, because of the results we’ve had recently. As I said, the first half was as much my responsibility as anybody’s, the performance wasn’t good.”