Azpilicueta worried Chelsea are losing Stamford Bridge fear factor

The Blues have struggled at home this season under Frank Lampard, with their form in west London undermining their top-four challenge

Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta is worried teams no longer worry about travelling to Stamford Bridge to face his team.

Reality has begun to bite for Frank Lampard’s Blues in recent weeks, with home defeats to West Ham, Bournemouth and Southampton.

Chelsea have struggled to create chances at home against teams employing a low block and compressing space in midfield – and the Spanish international can see the fear factor ebbing away.

“It’s true that when teams see we have not won games, they come here with more confidence because they see they can do it,” he said.

“So forget tactics. Everything is about recovering the respect at home, being solid at home, because it is not normal to lose so many games in your stadium.

“I don’t think the pressure of playing at home should be negative. It should be the opposite.

“We have the players, we have the quality and we have to turn it around straight away. The lesson has been very harsh – losing three [recent] games and scoring zero goals.”

Chelsea still sit fourth in the Premier League but with the likes of Wolves, Tottenham and Manchester United eating up ground behind them, they need an upturn in form.

Lampard has been tipped to spend big in the January transfer window, bolstering his youthful team with quality additions now that the club’s transfer ban has been lifted.

Azpilicueta’s focus is on matters on the pitch, and he is struggling to grasp exactly what his side’s problems have been.

“It’s difficult to understand why this is happening,” he added.

“Normally at home you find teams a bit more defensive, we can enjoy more time on the ball and you can create more chances.

“It’s up to us. When you play at home it is not about the rival, it is about yourself – about moving the ball quick to find the spaces, to create chances and give the fans and ourselves a lift.”

Chelsea do at least have two away games in their next two fixtures, with their away form dramatically superior to their home form.

They see out 2019 with a game at Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal, before ringing in the new year with a trip to Brighton and a home tie with Nottingham Forest in the third round of the FA Cup.

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