Azpilicueta 'conscious' after head injury as Potter rues miserable Chelsea loss

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Cesar Azpilicueta is responsive after being stretchered off following a head injury in Chelsea's 1-0 home defeat to Southampton, boss Graham Potter has revealed.

The defender took a boot to the face from Sekou Mara while defending a corner at Stamford Bridge, with a lengthy stoppage in play while he was attended to by medics.

The Blues captain was subsequently taken from the field and to hospital, as the hosts failed to find a response to James Ward-Prowse's first-half free-kick.

Potter offered an update on Azpilicueta's status after the game, revealing the 33-year-old is in medical care and able to hold a conversation.

"He is in hospital," he said. "He is conscious and speaking to his wife. Hopefully, he is in the best place.

"We are monitoring him. He needs to take all the precautions we need to take now."

Defeat marked a fourth game without victory in the Premier League for Chelsea, who remain firmly mired in mid-table despite a raft of expensive transfers last month.

Potter acknowledged the blame is his to shoulder for now, adding: "It was below par in the first half. I take as much responsibility as anyone in that.

"I thought we deserved a goal in the second half. When you don't score, it is obviously difficult. After a 1-0 defeat at home, any criticism you get is understandable.

"We've had a lot of injuries [and] challenges integrating players. A lot of people will say I'm the problem, and I'm not saying that their opinion is not worth articulating. My job is to work."