Chelsea star vows to set new record after being dropped by Antonio Conte

Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta is determined to beat his record of starting 74 consecutive Premier League matches after Antonio Conte brought an end to his incredible run.

The Spain international was rested from last month’s 1-0 win over Swansea at Stamford Bridge with the Chelsea boss needing to rotate his squad in light of a hectic schedule which will see the Premier League champions play five times in just over a fortnight.

‘I never thought about the amount of games I played in a row, 90 minutes in all of them. ‘But I would try to beat that mark, and I’m pleased for the number of games because I know it’s difficult.

‘Of course I want to play every game. We are a team, the manager makes the best decisions for the team. He sees the performance, the training.’

Azpilicueta returned to the side which was unable to beat Atletico Madrid in midweek and therefore failed to secure top spot in Champions League group C. He added: ‘It’s true that if you finish first, you play the second leg at home.

‘It’s a bit of a difference but, honestly, when you go into the last 16 of the Champions League, you have to face big, big teams and we have to show our level.’

Britain Football Soccer – Chelsea v Manchester United – FA Cup Quarter Final – Stamford Bridge – 13/3/17 Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante celebrates scoring their first goal with Cesar Azpilicueta and Eden Hazard Reuters / Eddie Keogh Livepic

‘But it’s not only us. If we finished first, we could also face big teams. Real Madrid, the current champions, also finished second.’

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