Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta has rubbished claims that he was involved in a bust-up with Antonio Rudiger prior to Frank Lampard being axed from his role at Stamford Bridge.
It has been suggested that unrest behind the scenes contributed to another change in the dugout being made by Premier League heavyweights.
Inconsistent results and inability to bring the best out of big-money additions did Lampard’s cause few favours, as he was axed after just 18 months, but squad harmony was also said to be an issue.
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Azpilicueta insists that was never the case, with the Blues skipper echoing comments from club colleague Tammy Abraham.
The Chelsea striker posted on social media: “Hearing some mad stuff about @ToniRuediger on social media today. Compete nonsense. Toni is a big bro to all of us.”
Azpilicueta has said on reports that he clashed with the German defender at training: “Everything is fine and I can say that didn’t happen. We didn’t have any issues and we don’t have. We always work together.
“As other players, we have sometimes our discussions, normal in football. When results are not going well, everybody has more tension around but nothing further than this.
“Normal footballers like normal workers in their offices or with other jobs with pressure who have to deliver and nothing further than this. There is not an issue, we are so committed.”
Spanish defender Azpilicueta added on fingers of blame being pointed in the direction of playing staff now that Lampard finds himself out of work: “We saw that [in the past] and sometimes when a manager leaves, people can blame some players but we are players, we are humans and we always want to do the best for the club, for the manager.
“That’s our job, that’s our passion and obviously we are not happy when results are not going well and sometimes, yes, we have seen the reaction from the fans but there is no issue. We are all together working.
“Of course, of course, 100 per cent [do not abuse Rudiger]. You see now social media, lots of abuse, you know we doing campaigns about racism, all of this, and you know it’s sad when you see people abusing.
“The fans I ask for unity, together, difficult times. We want the best for the team and, hopefully, this negativity we can leave it behind and we go together.
“We miss the fans, so we would like to be together fighting in these tough moments like we have always done. We always overcome the difficulties.”
Chelsea, who now have Thomas Tuchel calling the shots, will be back in Premier League action on Sunday when they take in a home date with Burnley.