Mykhailo Mudryk lauded for ‘brilliant’ debut as Cesar Azpilicueta explains how new Chelsea star can shine

 (Chelsea FC via Getty Images)
(Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

Cesar Azpilicueta is confident that Mykhailo Mudryk can make an immediate impact as a key player for Chelsea after an impressive 35-minute cameo at Liverpool.

The 22-year-old came on as a second half substitute in the 0-0 draw at Anfield and helped swing the game back in Chelsea’s favour.

Blues captain Azpilicueta, who came off the bench to become the first overseas player to reach 500 appearances at Stamford Bridge, has now urged Mudryk to play with total freedom in west London.

“I’ve seen a very focused lad with great determination, great ambition,” he said of the £88.5million arrival.

“It was his first game since November so, for him, it was like pre-season, he played 35 minutes at Anfield so it’s not the easiest debut and I think he did brilliantly.

“He has a great connection with the fans as well. He’s a player who can have that mix between playing good football with his feet and also running into space. You could see his speed.”

On Mudryk’s price tag, Azpilicueta noted: “He’s very confident. The price tag, I know from the outside it’s there but we players don’t make the prices, it’s a market and when you are in the market, you have competition to get players so I don’t think it has to lie on his shoulders.

“He just has to express himself the way he has been doing. It’s great to see his energy and he will be a very important player.”

Despite the excitement around over £400m of new signings, including Mudryk, the reality is that Chelsea remain tenth in the Premier League with a two-week break until their next fixture.

That will at least give Chelsea time to get some players back amid a three-month long injury crisis. Azpilicueta has called on the fitness issues to stop becoming an excuse when they get back to action against Fulham.

“Of course, when you have, as we had, 10-12 players injured it makes it more difficult,” he added. “And we are playing every few days so the time for recovery is different in a season that is unique with the World Cup in the middle and different loads on players.

“So we have to adapt and I think it’s important not to use that as an excuse and just move forward.”