Cesar Azpilicueta assumed the captain’s armband on Thursday but Maurizio Sarri still will not confirm his permanent Chelsea skipper. Azpilicueta began on the substitutes’ bench at PAOK, but came on and took the captaincy from Willian in the second half as Chelsea began their Europa League campaign with a 1-0 win in Greece.
With Gary Cahill, skipper under Sarri’s predecessor Antonio Conte, out of favour and ready to leave in January if his exile continues, there is intrigue over the captaincy – although not from Sarri who barely considers the matter important.
Asked whether Azpilicueta was now his permanent captain, the 59-year-old Italian said: “I don’t remember who was the captain at the beginning of the game. Who was the captain? Willian.
“And in the second part, Azpilicueta. I don’t know. I don’t remember. I understand that in England it is important. For me it is not so important.
“I have my idea. I want to speak to the players and I want to speak to my club. It was not possible this week. Maybe it will be possible in the next week.”
It is an interesting take from the boss of a club synonymous with ‘captain, leader, legend’ John Terry. Terry was Chelsea captain on 580 of his 717 Blues appearances.
Cahill was in the Blues’ squad for the first time this season, but did not feature, at PAOK and could again return to being outside the squad for Sunday’s Premier League clash at West Ham.
David Luiz was rested from the trip, alongside Eden Hazard, who said he was tired after the 4-1 win over Cardiff.
Pedro played down concerns after being taken off in stoppage time with a shoulder injury, but is a doubt.
Mateo Kovacic has a minor injury and may miss out again.