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Giroud delights in ‘special day’ after scoring on rare Chelsea start

Having started just twice previously in the Premier League this season, the World Cup winner returned to the Blues’ XI and grabbed a vital goal

Olivier Giroud was delighted to mark his return to the Chelsea XI with a goal and said he was “so happy to help the team” in the victory against Tottenham.

World Cup winner Giroud was linked with a move away from Chelsea in January but stayed when no replacement was signed, while he had not scored a club goal since August.

But the veteran striker was handed a rare start on Saturday – just his third in the league this season – and opened the scoring en route to a 2-1 win.

Marcos Alonso added to Chelsea’s advantage before a late Antonio Rudiger own goal, with the Blues holding on to leave Giroud to reflect on a hugely positive day.

“Wow, yeah, it was a good feeling for me, a good moment,” Giroud told BT Sport of his goal. “I’m so happy for the team, to help the team to win this game today.

“It had been three months I didn’t start, so it’s a special day for me and for all of us.”

Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta added: “We have a squad and we need to be ready for every game. It’s true that, when you don’t play, it difficult.

“Everybody wants to help the team. But everybody keeps training hard, fighting to be in the team.

“The competition is what gives the team that extra per cent where everybody can push to the limit. Today it worked perfectly.”

Azpilicueta was involved in one of the game’s flashpoints as Giovani Lo Celso appeared to stamp on the defender’s legs in an awful late challenge.

He avoided a red card following a VAR review, although the official in charge of the system reportedly later acknowledged Lo Celso should have been sent off.

“I’m not a player that likes to be on the floor, because I’m a defender, I’m tough, and I make fouls,” Azpilicueta said.

“But it was not a normal foul. It was a clear stamp on my shin. I felt it straight away and I was surprised that it was not a red card and not even a yellow card.

“Obviously everybody can make mistakes, but when you have a lot of replays, I think it could be easier.”

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