Cesar Azpilicueta has backed new recruits Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech to steal a march on the new Premier League season.
Germany striker Werner relinquished the delayed Champions League campaign with RB Leipzig to join Chelsea last month, in a bid to be in sharp goalscoring form by the start of the new English term.
Ziyech was able to link up with Chelsea from Ajax after a break given the Dutch season was cancelled at the end of the April.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) August 11, 2020
Both the Blues’ new attacking stars have already spent several weeks training with their new team-mates, leaving Chelsea skipper Azpilicueta impressed – and excited about their impact.
“Both of them have shown their quality in training in these past couple of weeks,” said Azpilicueta.
“We have seen their potential offensively, the way they can create chances and the way they can score goals so they are big additions to the team.
“The quicker and easier they can adapt to the Premier League, the better it will be for everybody so it was good to have them with the group for a few weeks at the end of the season.
“They are already integrated and know everybody so it’s been a very good time for that and now we’re all looking forward to seeing them on the pitch.”
Chelsea’s revamp under Frank Lampard is expected to continue at pace this summer, with Germany midfielder Kai Havertz still anticipated to make the switch from Bayer Leverkusen.
.@CesarAzpi assesses what we must do to close the gap in 2020/21 and insists that the early integration of our new two signings could be key… 💪
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) August 14, 2020
Leicester’s Ben Chilwell and West Ham’s Declan Rice are further long-term targets, with recruiting a new goalkeeper another consideration.
Chelsea’s troublesome defending proved the Blues’ Achilles heel throughout Lampard’s first season at the Stamford Bridge helm.
The west Londoners were still able to secure a fourth-place Premier League finish and Champions League qualification, but Azpilicueta is in no doubt where the Blues must improve.
“The story of a lot of games this season has been that we were not clinical in the boxes,” Azpilicueta told Chelsea’s official club website.
“In the attacking box, we have missed chances but I think the big problem was that sometimes we were playing well but we were not strong enough in our box.
“I always think of the offensive and defensive phases as a team and as a unit we know we have to keep improving at the back.
“We have to reduce the numbers of goals conceded if we want to close the gap because it’s a big difference.
“I’m sure we will work hard to reduce the gap and be close to the top next season.”