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CESAR AZPILICUETA reckons switching off his phone and focusing on family helped turn his season around.

The Chelsea skipper, who suffered an injury that forced him off the pitch during his side's FA Cup final loss to Arsenal, admits he wasn’t playing at the high standards he sets for himself.

5Cesar Azpilicueta reckons turning off his phone and spending time with his family turned his season aroundCredit: PA:Press Association

Last August the club, who appointed Frank Lampard as their coach that summer, endured a 4-0 thumping at Manchester United,

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Later that year they went on to lose league fixtures to Man City, West Ham, Everton and Bournemouth in November and December.

 

The Blues were also stunned by shocking online racist abuse aimed at Tammy Abraham for a penalty miss during a Uefa Super Cup shootout against Liverpool. 

And last month an error-strewn performance against Sheffield United by the usually reliable Stamford Bridge led him to turn off his mobile for four days to devote more time to his family. 

Azpilicueta told the Daily Mail: 'I was not playing at my best. 

''Personally, there was one moment. After the Sheffield United game I couldn't see myself at my level and I felt really down.

“I tried to speak honestly in the dressing room. I don't have a problem holding my hands up. 

“There are times in life when you have to be humble and accept it.  

5Cesar Azpilicueta went on to replace Chelsea icon Ashley Cole (pictured) and the Spain international has made 271 Premier League appearances for the clubCredit: Getty Images - Getty

“That's the way I felt at the time. It was the international break and I went and spoke to my wife. 

“I switched off the phone for four days and enjoyed the time with my family. 

“From that moment, I felt the pressure release.

“Sometimes you have to take it in the face and stand up again and fight for what you want.

“I wanted to be successful. To help my team. To help the club. I was not doing that and not because I didn't want to.

“My first months nearly every time on the bench. I didn't play a lot but I didn't think to quit.

Cesar Azpilicueta

“Sometimes in life that happens. 

“I spoke and it was a turning point for me, personally, and, as a team, we improved a lot from that moment.”

5Azpilicueta hopes to lead Chelsea's new crop of stars to trophy-winning glory next seasonCredit: Getty Images - Getty

Azpilicueta has been a regular face in Chelsea’s back four since joining the club from Marseille in a £7million deal in 2012. 

The Spain international went on to replace Ashley Cole as the Blues’ first-choice left-back slot after starting out on the club’s academy pitch. 

And the 30-year-old’s first competitive goal for Chelsea in their 2-0 victory over Arsenal in a League Cup fourth round game helped to cement his spot under former boss Jose Mourinho. 

Azpilicueta added: “My first game in a Chelsea shirt was for the Under-23s on an academy pitch. I remember it well. 

“My first months nearly every time on the bench. I didn't play a lot but I didn't think to quit.

“This was a massive opportunity for me and from the bench, I thought I could start to learn and understand the English game.

5Azpilicueta (right) made 29 appearances in the league for Chelsea this seasonCredit: News Group Newspapers Ltd

“Ivanovic was in my position. Branna was an amazing player, great passion and desire and I watched how he would counter-attack on the set-plays. 

"We scored lots of goals like this. 

“So, in the League Cup against Arsenal, in my second year, I tried my luck and that's how I came by my first Chelsea goal.

"When Mourinho trusted me to play left back it cannot have been easy for Ashley. 

Football changes and this is a time for change

Cesar Azpilicueta

“He had been there for such a long time and won absolutely everything with over 100 caps for England and I was on the left and I was not even a left back.

“He never said a bad word to me or showed me a bad face. Completely the opposite. 

“He was a top guy, he gave everything. To see this behaviour from the best left back in history is a very good memory. 

“I learned a lot from him."

5

Azpilicueta is currently Chelsea’s longest-serving player. 

And the Blues stalwart says he feels a responsibility to instil the values he learned from club legends such as John Terry and Cole in the teams emerging young stars. 

Players who include Mason Mount, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Billy Gilmour. 

The Spain fullback added: “I have played with the past generation who won all those trophies. Football changes and this is a time for change.

“They have done the first steps. They went through the academy and the process of going on loan. 

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“They trained hard and did well but it is different to going into the first team, to have an impact and be consistent. 

“Our future is bright. They won trophies with the academy. Most of them won the FA Youth Cup. 

“Now we will see if they can replicate these trophies with the first team.”

Willian posts video from Wembley stands after being left out of FA Cup final squad due to injury

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These are the seven worst interview mistakes candidates make - including having a phone on, arriving late and bad-mouthing previous employers

The career experts from Australian recruitment company Seek have outlined the seven worst mistakes to avoid making during job interviews.

In order to make a good first impression with a potential employer, it's important to be on time, show interest for the role available, appear tidy and avoid bad-mouthing previous employers. 

Managing Director of Hays in Australia and New Zealand, Nick Deligiannis, said it's essential to avoid making interview mistakes to increase the likeliness of a second interview or getting the position.

In order to make a good first impression with a potential employer, it's important to be on time, show interest for the role available, appear tidy and avoid bad-mouthing previous employers

1. Not showing passion or interest in the role

According to a survey conducted by Seek, 20 per cent of hirers said not showing excitement, passion or eagerness for the position is the number-one way to leave a negative first impression.

Nick said it's important for candidates to be polite, friendly and show that they want to be there.

'Some small chitchat from the reception area to the interview room will show that you're friendly and have good interpersonal skills,' he said. 

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According to a survey conducted by Seek, 20 per cent of hirers said not showing excitement, passion or eagerness in the position is the number-one way to leave a negative first impression

2. Arriving late

It's important to always arrive early or on time for an interview as this will show the employer your punctuality.

19 per cent of surveyed hirers said being late is one of the worst things candidates can do to leave a negative impression.

Nick said being prepared for a job interview is vital and there's no excuse for not doing so.

'Anticipate factors that may make you late, such as traffic, and make sure you leave the house earlier than you normally would. Look up your route the night before and arrive at least ten minutes early,' he said.

19 per cent of surveyed hirers said being late is one of the worst things candidates can do to leave a negative impression

3. Bad-mouthing a previous employer

It's also just as important to phrase your answers in a positive manner, particularly when speaking about previous jobs or employers.

'Some interviewees will badmouth their previous employer when asked why they're looking for a new role,' Nick said.

'Practice phrasing your answer positively, as speaking negatively about your previous employer can make you look like someone who blames others for problems rather than seeks solutions.'

It's also just as important to phrase your answers in a positive manner, particularly when speaking about previous jobs or employers

4. Not doing your research

Those who don't research the company and position available are putting themselves at a disadvantage, as the more a candidate knows the better they will be at demonstrating how their abilities fit the role.

By researching the role beforehand, candidates will also be able to consider any questions to ask the employer.

Director Mike Dickson at Six Degrees Recruitment in New South Wales said asking the employer challenging questions is 'one of the most important parts of the interview'.

'Make your question relevant - reference people, brands, have an opinion and challenge and engage your interviewer,' he said.

5. Appearing untidy

Nick said acting and dressing appropriately is often a good idea, as employers consider who would best represent the company.

Dressing appropriately to match the job will also show your respect for yourself, others and the company. 

'Dressing professionally is often not so much about the actual clothes as it is about being neat and tidy in overall appearance. For example, wear a neat, ironed shirt, and clean, tidy shoes,' Nick said. 

Similarly to arriving late, being on your phone will show the employer you're not eager to be at the interview and can lead to a negative first impression

6. Being on your phone 

It's important to acknowledge and respect that the interviewer is taking the time to meet you, and so it's essential to give them full attention and avoid using your phone.

Similarly to arriving late, being on your phone will show the employer you're not eager to be at the interview and can lead to a negative first impression.

Instead, turn the phone on silent, put it in your bag or pocket, or leave it in the car during the time of the interview.

While bringing a bottle of water is acceptable to bring to a formal interview, it's important to avoid bringing any other types of drinks as well as food 

7. Bringing food or drinks to the interview 

While bringing a bottle of water is acceptable to bring to an interview, it's important to avoid bringing any other types of drinks as well as food.

Unless the interview is informal, such as at a café and the employer is eating or drinking themselves, it's best to stick to only water.

If all seven common mistakes are avoided during interviews, this will ensure a good first impression is made and will likely lead to a call back.

Read more:
  • 7 best ways to make worst possible impression in an interview - SEEK Career Advice

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