With talisman Eden Hazard out injured and last season’s top scorer Diego Costa in exile awaiting a move away from the club, Antonio Conte’s side looked short on quality in a 3-2 defeat at home to Burnley at the weekend.
Academy graduate Jeremie Boga was handed his first team debut in a front three alongside Michy Batshuayi against the Clarets, with new signing Alvaro Morata not introduced until the hour mark.
Boga was swiftly withdrawn after Cahill’s 17th minute red card but the message from Conte on the strength of his sqaud was clear, even if publicly he plays a straight bat on transfers.
Defender Azpilicueta was not so reserved in his assessment of the side.
‘When you see the players we lost, and the players we signed in, they’re not the same,’ said the Spain international.
‘We have good young players but we must know the reality that being champions is even harder the next season.
‘We have experience of that so we need players – also for the development of the young players.
‘They need help from top players, not to rush them in where maybe they are not ready to go at the moment.
‘So it is something that the club are working on with the manager, and, hopefully, we can get new signings in the next few weeks.’
After the reality check against Burnley, Chelsea face a stern test of their credentials next Sunday when they head to Wembley to play rivals Tottenham next Sunday.