Cesar Azpilicueta says losing a second final this season to Liverpool in a penalty shoot-out is a difficult pill to swallow, but all we can do is accept that games at this level are sometimes decided by the narrowest of margins.
In a repeat of February’s Carabao Cup final, we suffered a painful shoot-out defeat to the Reds at Wembley in the FA Cup final after 120 minutes of tense football in which neither side could find the breakthrough.
Our captain admits he and his team-mates are hurting after the loss, but there is nothing they can do but accept it and move on.
‘It’s difficult. Of course we’d liked to have had a different result and we are disappointed to lose,’ he said. ‘When we arrived at the penalty shoot-out we tried to do the best we can. We were ready for it. Unfortunately this time it didn’t happen again.
‘It’s football. It’s hard to take but somehow you have to resolve the game and in the last two games on penalties we were not on the winning side.’
Azpilicueta saw his effort in the shoot-out hit the post and go wide, before Mason Mount had his shot saved by Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson in sudden death, allowing Kostas Tsimikas to score the decisive penalty.
While conceding that brings additional pain to himself and Mount, he insists there is no blame placed on the 23-year-old, reiterating responsibility is shared and that they win as a team and lose as a team, while predicting his younger team-mate will have plenty more opportunities to lift trophies at Wembley in the future.
‘I missed my penalty as well so it’s not Mason. We are all together here. When we make the list, we all feel confident that we want to shoot. This time it happens and I’m sure Mason will have a lot more times, he’s still a young player.