THE THURSDAY INTERVIEW: PETR CECH
The Chelsea goalkeeper has been reflecting on a rare night off and bouncing back from disappointments...
How did you enjoy your evening off for last night's game?
I enjoyed my day off but then not so much the game because when your fellow goalkeeper and friend is injured in the game, especially on the head, it is not pleasing to see.
I enjoyed the performance of the players, 4-0 and a clean sheet is very good. Hilario made a very important save when he was injured, and when Ross came in it was good to see him playing well with confidence, especially after his first game with the reserves which didn't happen as he wished.
He came in, did well, caught every cross that came in and it was good to see, I was happy with him.
It must have been reassuring to see H was okay at Cobham today as well?
I went to see him at home with Christophe Lollichon, but he was already feeling better. Of course it may take a few days but he felt fine and there is no major injury.
Were you taking notes on Bolton during the game, knowing we face them again this weekend?
Not notes but it was good to see the game. Often you can see things on television but it was good to see a whole picture. When you see it live you can see the movement of the ball and the players off the ball, which you may not do on video.
I expect them to play a different game, they are usually very aggressive and put bodies into the box. It is a big fight. Yesterday was not the real Bolton I would say, I was a bit surprised but at home it will be a different story.
Winning so convincingly must be a psychological boost heading into that game?
It can be a bit like a trap, because I have seen so many times playing a team twice in the same week, and they lost 4-0, so they know they have to do better. They know whatever went wrong cannot be repeated or they will lose 4-0 again, and can have a different approach to the game. Psychologically they know it can't really get worse which can be a boost.
That's eight straight clean sheets in a row at home, a Chelsea top-flight record*…
It's very good, the last few games have been four or five-nil, but we had some close games, QPR, Tottenham was tight for long spells, Liverpool, Porto, all close games, so it is good to keep clean sheets and you know you just have to score one goal. If you do you are confident the three points is yours.
Every clean sheet is important to me, even if we are winning by greater margins.
4-0. 5-0. 4-0. Not a bad way to respond to criticism after the Aston Villa game…
It is difficult to come back after international matches, and this was a special time. Some players qualify for the World Cup, some for the play-offs, some do not qualify at all. Everyone comes back with different emotions and the following day we had a game, so it is not easy.
This was the case for the Aston Villa game, an example of being out of rhythm and the game becomes more difficult. We know we have to live with that every month, 90 per cent of the squad is international, but it was difficult and we needed a good response to show it was an exception.
And how do you feel having missed out on the World Cup?
It is disappointing to miss the World Cup. We have to recognise we didn't start the qualification well and we were always running behind. We changed the coach and had some positive games but it was too late, we were on the back foot from the start of the group, so that was the main problem. If you don't get the points you cannot qualify and we put ourselves in a bad position.
What will you be doing instead next summer?
It will be the first time in my life I will have more than three weeks holiday, so this is the positive part - that I will have some real time to be with the family and recover from the season.
It would be better to be involved but every dark side has a positive side and that will be the time off.
*The full record of our eight-game streak is - Chelsea 3-0 Burnley, Chelsea 1-0 Porto, Chelsea 3-0 Tottenham, Chelsea 1-0 QPR, Chelsea 2-0 Liverpool, Chelsea 4-0 Atletico Madrid, Chelsea 5-0 Blackburn, Chelsea 4-0 Bolton.
Cech has played in six games, Hilario two, and Ross Turnbull made a substitute appearance in last night's win against Bolton.
Last night saw us surpass our previous top flight record of seven set in 1999/00 (Sunderland 4-0, Skonto Riga 3-0, Aston Villa 1-0, Newcastle 1-0, AC Milan 0-0, Galatasaray 1-0, Man Utd 5-0 - all by Ed de Goey).
Our all-time record is 10 set over 1926/27 (last eight games) and 1927/28 (first two games) when we were in the old Second Division.