Maurizio Sarri believes Cesr Azpilicueta has the leadership qualities Chelsea need.
The head coach’s endorsement of the reliable defender came a couple of days after it was claimed that he is looking to ditch Azpilicueta.
Newspaper reports declared that Sarri was keen to replace the Spaniard with Napoli full-back Elseid Hysaj.
Albania international Hysaj previously played under Sarri at Napoli and has repeatedly been linked with Chelsea.
However, Sarri spoke highly of skipper Azpilicueta at a press conference ahead of the Carabao Cup semi-final clash with Tottenham.
Referring to Chelsea’s apparent lack of leaders since the likes of John Terry left Stamford Bridge, Sarri said: “We have some players with the characteristics to be a leader; Azpilicueta, David Luiz.
“I think they can help all the other players to get the right mentality.”
But Sarri does not believe that Eden Hazard has leadership qualities.
“In this moment he is more an individual player than a leader,” Sarri explained.
“He is very important for us because he is a great player. He always can win the match – in two minutes and sometimes one minute.
“But at the moment he is not a leader. He is a great player – one of the best in the world.
“Eden is a wonderful player but he is an individual player.”