Chelsea star Cesar Azpilicueta has admitted that he can't see how Filipe Luis is happy sitting on the bench as his understudy this season, but don't expect any sympathy from the Spanish full-back in terms of giving up his starting spot.
Azpilicueta has started 21 Premier League games for the Blues this season, leaving £20m summer addition Luis feeding off scrap in his first season since swapping Atletico Madrid for Stamford Bridge.
Luis arrived with a tremendous reputation as a key part of Atleti's La Liga winning team, but Azpilicueta has simply been too consistent to drop when key matches have rolled round over the last six months.
Tremendous competition for places
Last weekend's 2-1 win over Stoke City was a prime example of Jose Mourinho's selection policy at left-back, with Luis sat on the bench and Azpilicueta starting.
The Spanish international was asked about competition for his place after that clash, telling Sky Sports in an interview recalled by Get West London: "If you ask every player in every team, they are going to say they want to play and when you do not play, obviously you are not as happy as when you do play.
Former Marseille man up for the battle
"This is football, everyone wants to play and fight and after, I think the team is better and this is the most important thing."
Azpilicueta was also very specific when it came to insisting football is all about fighting at the highest level, both for results and a place in the team full stop when it comes to playing for a club like Chelsea.
The 25-year-old said: “When I watch a game, I am more focused on the players playing in my position because sometimes you see that I can do better and I try to learn.
"I have to go out on the pitch and give everything, to try to fight for every ball, to play and be useful for the team.
“And obviously when I finish the game and I feel I have given everything and we win, I am happy.
"There are individual battles in the game that you have to win.”
Every manager in the country bar perhaps City boss Manuel Pellegrini must envy Mourinho's options at left-back, although it remains to be seen if he can keep Luis happy in the long term.
Luis is now a certain starter for Brazil under new coach Dunga but can't get a game when it matters most for Chelsea, surely a situation he can't allow to continue next season.
It remains to be seen if Mourinho reduces Branislav Ivanovic's workload next season and shifts Azpilicueta to right-back so Luis can play more regularly.
Mourinho is a ruthless pragmatist though and rarely makes such concessions, so Luis faces an uphill battle to change his mind over the next six months in particular.
Chelsea fans, are you surprised Luis has been such a bit-part player considering the Blues paid nearly £20m for his signature? Do you think he was worth signing in all honesty? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below!
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