Azpilicueta breaks silence over Chelsea youngsters amid Mourinho’s criticism after scandalous loss to to Manchester united

Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta has backed Chelsea’s youngsters to thrive this season despite a 4-0 thrashing at Manchester United .

New Blues boss Frank Lampard opted to hand Mason Mount his first senior start for the club as Tammy Abraham led the line for only the third time, but a promising start ended with Chelsea’s worst opening-day defeat in their 114-year history.

Lampard is keen to offset Chelsea’s Fifa transfer ban by promoting several youngsters, with Fikayo Tomori – who spent last season on loan at Derby under the 41-year-old alongside Mount – named on the bench and Reece James set for a significant role this term.

Former Blues manager Jose Mourinho, working for Sky Sports as a pundit, claimed Mount, Abraham and Andreas Christensen were not strong enough for “a match of this dimension”, but Azpilicueta believes there is much more to come, the Evening Standard report.

“We trust in them,” he said. “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.”

Chelsea created several chances, with both Abraham and Emerson hitting the woodwork in the first half, but Marcus Rashford put United ahead after 18 minutes from the penalty spot after Kurt Zouma’s clumsy challenge before two goals in 95 seconds just after the hour mark settled the contest.

Anthony Martial turned home Andreas Pereira’s cross before Rashford collected Paul Pogba’s excellent through ball to finish past Kepa Arrizabalaga.

United substitute Daniel James added a late fourth to condemn Lampard to the biggest defeat suffered by a Chelsea manager on debut since Danny Blanchflower lost to Middlesbrough 7-2 in 1978.

The Blues must move on quickly, though. They face Liverpool in Wednesday’s Uefa Super Cup, pitching last season’s Champions League winners against the Europa League holders.

“We know that Chelsea always fight for everything,” said Azpilicueta.

“When you don’t win, the questions around get more and more, but we have to cope with it.

“We have to learn from the game. We know that we can improve. We have to face it, take the responsibility and move forward.

“We have a trophy to fight for against a good team and we have to be ready for it.”

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Chelsea star set for Stamford Bridge exit as Monaco open transfer talks

Reports in France claim AS Monaco have opened talks with Chelsea for a return of Tiemoue Bakayoko to the Stade Louis II.

The Frenchman was part of the 2016/17 Monaco side that reached the Champions League semi-finals but a £40million switch to Stamford Bridge has not panned out.

After a disappointing first season under Antonio Conte, Bakayoko was shipped out on loan to AC Milan last year after failing to impress Maurizio Sarri.

He returned to Chelsea in the summer but new boss Frank Lampard has decided he’s surplus to requirements and he is set to leave the club before the end of the European transfer window.

The 24-year-old reportedly held talks with Turkish giants Galatasary this month but a move has yet to materialise and he is now weighing up a return to his former club, according to L’Equipe.

The Metro reports that Monaco are looking to sign him on an initial loan basis and believe he would be a good fit seeing as he knows the club well as well as the manager Leonardo Jardim.

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Barcelona set to hijack Real Madrid move for Neymar as officials fly to France for meeting with PSG

Barcelona are poised to hijack Real Madrid’s move for Neymar as reports claim that club’s chief Eric Abidal leading other officials to meet PSG for the star.

According to the Football Espana, Barcelona ‘will do everything they can’ to sign Neymar and have scheduled a meeting with him for Tuesday.

The Spanish club’s director of football Eric Abidal boarded a plane for Paris as the reigning La Liga champions aim to seal a return for their former forward.

Neymar spent four seasons in Spain, striking up a lethal partnership with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez in winning two league titles plus the 2015 Champions League.

Diario AS cite a report from Catalan radio station RAC1 that claims the Blaugrana president Josep Maria Bartomeu has given the green light for the club to go all out for a deal.

The Brazilian star has been heavily linked with a return to Barcelona this summer as an exit from the French capital had appeared to be looking increasingly likely.

The former Santos forward left the Camp Nou for Paris in the summer of 2017 for a world record €222m fee, but reports continue to suggest he may be open to a departure from the Parisians.

Neymar has continually been linked with a return to Spain since his departure with the Catalan giants and Madrid said to be keen on a future transfer.

A report in Marca last month claimed the Catalan giants were open to the possibility of selling Ousmane Dembele this summer, while the future of Philippe Coutinho is also under scrutiny.

REVEALED: How hackers almost stole Tottenham’s Tanguy Ndombele £1.9million transfer fee

There are reports that a police investigation in France has been launched after hackers reportedly tried to steal £1.9million that was paid to Amiens as part of Tanguy Ndombele’s move to Tottenham.

Ndombele joined Tottenham from Lyon in the summer for £65million and scored in his new club’s win last Saturday.

French Ligue 1 side Amiens had a sell-on clause written in to Ndombele’s contract when he moved to Lyon, the Daily Mail repoort.

Reports in France suggest that hackers attempted to take £1.9m of about £12m, which came from Lyon.

It is reported to date back to earlier this month when Amiens were preparing for a friendly against Leganes.

The club’s internal server was hacked and an invoice of £550,000 was targeted before there was an attempted transfer of the money to a bank account in Spain.

The transfer was blocked and the authorities were notified. It is the second time Amiens have been targeted in such a way.

There was also an attempt made by hackers to steal money from them after the sale of youngster Noam Emeran to Manchester United earlier this year.

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Jose Mourinho maintains “attack” on Manchester United star

Jose Mourinho appeared to continue his battle against Luke Shaw even after his departure from Manchester United as he aimed a sly dig at the club’s defender by warning Harry Maguire he will need to cover for the left-back.

The sacked Manchester United boss had a disruptive relationship with Shaw during their time together at Old Trafford.

Maguire had to cover for Shaw when the left-back was out of position on Sunday during a chance for the Blues on Sunday.

Mourinho has suggested that United’s new £80million man will have to get used to that, the Daily Mail report.

When describing a chance for Chelsea on Sky Sports Mourinho said: ‘Maguire is attracted to the outside to cover for Luke [Shaw].

‘He [Maguire] will learn over the season he needs to do that a lot [cover for Shaw].’

Mourinho hauled Shaw off at half-time during a victory over Brighton in 2018.

Shaw has previously said ‘you need to have thick skin’ to play for Mourinho.

After a 1-1 draw against Everton in 2017, Mourinho said ‘it was Shaw’s body with my brain’.