Cesar Azpilicueta Backs Chelsea Youngsters After 4-0 Loss to Manchester United

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistAugust 12, 2019

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - AUGUST 11:  Frank Lampard manager of Chelsea and captain Cesar Azpilicueta of Chelsea walk off the pitch during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Chelsea FC at Old Trafford on August 11, 2019 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Julian Finney/Getty Images

Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta has defended the performances of Blues youngsters Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham in the club's 4-0 Premier League defeat at Manchester United on Sunday.

Manager Frank Lampard has been unable to add to his squad this summer as Chelsea are serving a FIFA-imposed transfer ban.

In his first Premier League game in charge, the Blues legend picked Mount, 20, and Abraham, 21, in his front four.

Lampard's decision to put his faith in both, the products of Chelsea's youth academy, was criticised by some, including former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho after they were thrashed by United in their 2019-20 Premier League opener, per Sky Sports.

But Azpilicueta said all the players in the squad deserved to be there, per James Olley in the Evening Standard:

"We trust in them. We know that we have a fantastic academy and they have had fantastic experience on loan. If they are here it is because they deserve to be. They are fighting in every training session. All the boys, they train to play for the Chelsea first team since they were young and now we have a massive opportunity to create a fantastic group, to learn from every game. Yesterday, obviously everyone would like to start in a better way, but we have to face the reality and become stronger from it."

Mount played in the Championship under Lampard at Derby County last season, and the midfielder was a key player for the Rams as they made it to the play-off final.

Abraham, meanwhile, was also playing in England's second tier in 2018-19 with Aston Villa.

The forward netted 26 goals in 40 appearances as Villa were promoted to the Premier League by beating Derby in the play-off final:

Statman Dave @StatmanDave

Tammy Abraham scored 26 league goals last season, 18 more than any current Chelsea player managed. Has to be given a chance at CF. 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 https://t.co/R6rocHxFPX

Despite both flourishing in the Championship last term, it was always going to be difficult for the pair to make an immediate impact in the Premier League, especially given Chelsea's opening game was at Old Trafford.

There were still encouraging signs for Lampard in Manchester despite the heavy defeat:

Richard Jolly @RichJolly

Jose Mourinho was wrong to blame Mason Mount for Chelsea's defeat at Old Trafford. But it did highlight a soft underbelly and the problems of Frank Lampard's inheritance: https://t.co/Vw7hpBU7Km

And the Englishman also has key players to return like Antonio Rudiger, Willian and N'Golo Kante.

Lampard is hamstrung by Chelsea's transfer ban as well as by the fact Eden Hazard, the club's best player, left for Real Madrid earlier this summer.

He has a decent squad, though, and Chelsea's youngsters are likely to be given more opportunities than ever under Lampard as he cuts his teeth in Premier League management.