Cesar Azpilicueta insists he has no hard feelings towards Romelu Lukaku after the Manchester United striker sent him flying into a photographer during Chelsea’s draw at Old Trafford on Sunday.
Chelsea’s captain went shoulder to shoulder with Lukaku near the corner flag and the Belgian’s superior strength sent the Spaniard careering off the pitch towards United’s supporters who were sat in the front row of the Stretford End.
But before Azpilicueta collided with a metal gate in front of the fans he crashed into United’s official club photographer of 25 years, who was sat just yards from the edge of the pitch.
Asked if he was okay after he came off worse in the clash with Lukaku, Azpilicueta said: ‘I was okay, maybe I was lucky I had the photographer just in front of me. I was going straight to the wall.
‘It’s a fight, it’s a fight, we knew they are a very physical team. ‘Physicality is part of football, the battles, I’m happy for it.’
Azpilicueta was also pleased with Chelsea’s response after going a goal down as Marcos Alonso capitalised on David De Gea’s error to cancel out Juan Mata’s opener before half-time. ‘I think in the first half we didn’t start well.
We conceded that early goal and it put us in difficulty,’ said Azpilicueta. ‘But the team stayed in the game, I thought it was important not to concede quick goals like we did against Liverpool.
‘We had a good first half but in the second half straight away we conceded two goals in two minutes, so obviously, the game was more difficult.
‘Today, okay we conceded that goal but after that, the team stayed in the game, we scored that goal before half-time which was very important.
‘In the second half the team grew in confidence, we found more spaces and we created more chances. ‘I think to come here we knew they’d start the game strong, they had a great chance to go level with us in terms of points.
‘Even though the first half wasn’t the best we managed to get back in the game, after half-time the belief of the team was very strong, we felt we could win and we showed that in the last 45 minutes.’