SACKED Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo was less to blame for Chelsea’s failings than the players themselves, says full back Cesar Azpilicueta.
Chelsea enter their third match under replacement Rafael Benitez tomorrow (Saturday) in the worst rut since Roman Abramovich took over the club a decade ago.
Benitez has been unable to get Chelsea to score a single goal in three hours of football, and the fans are on his back.
During Wednesday’s Premier League match at home to Fulham, fans booed, said Benitez was ‘not welcome here’, and demanded their ‘old Chelsea back’.
Azpilicueta says he has regrets players could not have done more to help ex-boss Di Matteo.
"We have the most responsibility on the pitch, because the players play," said the Spaniard.
"We sometimes made the wrong decisions, and the wrong pass. We did the kind of thing that the manager could not do anything to correct. So it is true that we had responsibility."
Heads are clearly down in the Chelsea camp, ahead of Benitez’s first away trip with the club – to West Ham.
Azpilicueta explained how it had felt for the players: "It is a difficult week: first with the defeat in Turin, after that the change of manager," he said.
"But the important thing is the future and to be prepared for the next game.
"Manchester City was a difficult game: we had two days to prepare with the new manager.
"It is difficult, because we started the season really well – winning all the games. And now we don’t win any games.
"It is true that we are in a period where it is not easy, but the season is long – it is important to be on the top at the end. It is a kind of period we must pass the best as we can."
The 23-year-old conceded there was a problem with Benitez’s unpopularity among fans, but said it could be changed.
"If we win, I think the fans are going to be happy with the team, because they need their three points, to win trophies," he said. "That is the way to change this."