CECH: SUMMER ASSESSED

After four weeks on the road in Asia and America, Petr Cech looks back on the pre-season period believing we are in good shape to begin the competitive campaign.

Cech sat out the final friendly of our summer against Roma in Washington DC on Saturday night, having appeared in each of our previous six fixtures, and can now reflect on two important and successful teambuilding exercises.

'They have been two different trips. In the first one we had six young players who knew they wouldn't stay with the team, starting without the guys who went to the Confederations Cup. We started well there and it gave us a good base, and on the trip to America we had more difficult games against better opponents, so it is more realistic because it's closer to the season, and we continued what we started well in Asia,' the goalkeeper summarised.

'It was a very successful pre-season, with new players and a new coaching staff, and everybody had to get to know each other and gel. We had enough time to do that and hopefully it will show in the first game against Hull at the weekend.

'The team has got together and worked very hard, meeting our objectives step by step, so I think the manager and coaching staff are happy with what they've seen and the way things are going. They know what they expect and what we want to achieve, so everybody is happy.'

The four goalkeepers, Cech, Mark Schwarzer, Jamal Blackman and Hilario, have been pushed hard by their coach Christophe Lollichon, and the Czech international believes it reflects well with a few days left until the Barclays Premier League curtain-raiser at Stamford Bridge.

'Pre-season is pre-season and you need to go through that period of hard work as best as you can, finding good solutions to cope with the fatigue, doing the right things to get fit. It's very important and I know it will give me the platform for the season,' he said. 'I feel fit and ready. I've worked hard and hopefully it will start well for us on Sunday.'

Cech will spend this week at Cobham with his club team-mates rather than joining up with his country for international duty.