Azpilicueta stands by Chelsea youngsters

Chelsea's Cesar Azpilicueta has warned his side they cannot rely on the Europa League as they try to qualify for the Champions League.

Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta has leapt to the defence of Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount after the 4-0 defeat to Manchester United.

Chelsea fans were left disappointed on Sunday afternoon when they were hammered by the Red Devils at Old Trafford.

Blues boss Frank Lampard fielded a young starting XI in Lancashire and his side nearly opened the scoring. Abraham rattled the post before Ross Barkley was denied by David De Gea.

However, United were in ruthless mood up front and opened the scoring via Marcus Rashford from the penalty spot.

Anthony Martial and Rashford then netted quickly in the second half before substitute Daniel James opened his account for the club. Chelsea had a number of chances as Emerson also saw a shot hit the upright before United cleared.

Lampard’s men looked vulnerable at the back and pace seemed to be an issue for the likes of Kurt Zouma, Andreas Christensen and Azpilicueta.

Some fans have questioned the decision to start both Mount and Abraham, but Azpilicueta says they belong in the XI.

“If they are here it is because they deserve to be,” he told Sky Sports. “They are fighting in every training session. We trust in them.

“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.”

Chelsea will now look to bounce back against Liverpool in the European Super Cup in Istanbul on Wednesday night.

Midweek promises to be a tough battle for the Blues, with Liverpool looking back to their best in their 4-1 win over Norwich last weekend.

Lampard says there are positives to take from Sunday’s game, especially considering the club’s inability to sign players due to a transfer ban.

Chelsea will also be unable to bring in any new players in January and the club’s youngsters are set to gain invaluable experience in the top flight.

As well as Mount and Abraham, the likes of Reece James, Fikayo Tomori and Kenedy will look to take their chance this season.

After the Super Cup clash in midweek, the Blues face Leicester City at Stamford Bridge before they take on Norwich City and Sheffield United before the end of August.