Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta has staunchly defended Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham after criticism from Jose Mourinho in the wake of the Blues’ 4-0 hammering at Manchester United.
Former Stamford Bridge boss Mourinho, speaking in his role as a pundit for Sky Sports, questioned the wisdom of including Portsmouth-born Mount and Abraham in the starting XI as Frank Lampard's tenure as Chelsea head coach began in ignominious fashion.
Mourinho's reasoning centred on the duo's lack of top-flight experience when the likes of N'Golo Kante, Olivier Giroud and Marcos Alonso were left on the bench on Sunday afternoon.
Twenty-year-old Mount – a former Purbrook Park pupil and one-time season-ticket holder at Pompey – was making his senior debut for Chelsea as the Londoners’ kicked off their Premier League campaign at Old Trafford.
Azpilicueta said: ‘If they are here it is because they deserve to be. 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.
‘Obviously, everyone would like to start in a better way but we have to face the reality and become stronger from it.
Last November, midfielder Mount revealed he snubbed Southampton as a youngster because of his Pompey roots.