CECH: POSITIVE CHANGES
In the wake of Fabrice Muamba's collapse at the weekend, Petr Cech has spoken about the improvement in medical facilities in and around football stadiums since his own horrific injury which occurred during a league match at Reading back in 2006.
A collision with the home side's Stephen Hunt early in the game left the Blues goalkeeper undergoing surgery for a depressed skull fracture.
Some good, however, did eventually come out of that dreadful evening at the Madejski Stadium. Due to the length of time it took for Cech to be transferred to hospital, the club lodged observations with the FA which prompted the enhancements that, in Cech's mind, went some way to saving Muamba's life at the weekend.
'I was watching the game and I was glad that after the incident that happened with me at Reading, where it took so much time to get me off the pitch and people couldn't get me out of the dressing room, imagine if that had happened with Fabrice. Back then he might have had no chance,' reckons Cech.
'I was glad to see that since then, all the medical issues and structures have changed for the better and now he has a better chance to survive because of all the medical equipment around the pitch. It's a great change because sometimes it can only take a few seconds to change our lives and it's good now that after what happened with me at Reading, people have got the facilities and medical rules improved.
'You could see that Gary [Cahill] had a message, everybody at the club made a statement prior to the game. All the players hope he will be able to recover, and obviously for his family, our thoughts are with them because it's going to be a very difficult time for everybody close to him. We tried to win the game and do our best, the guys had the message and you could see they were desperate to score to show it.
'You feel for the family and the people who are close to him and the players that are on the pitch because it's difficult, but at the time when I got injured nobody really knew how serious it was from the start, but with this you knew straight away how serious it was. Everybody made the correct decision to stop the game because I don't think the players would have the concentration to continue.'
Cech, meanwhile, captained the side during Sunday's 5-2 win over Leicester City to book an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley against either Tottenham or Bolton next month, our fourth straight win since Roberto Di Matteo took charge.
The impressive performance against the Championship side, which included a brace from Fernando Torres, came only four days after the Champions League win against Napoli, and Cech believes that with potentially pivotal league matches against Manchester City and Tottenham on the horizon, experience could yet prove to be the difference.
'In football, everything changes with positive results. When you have negative results on the bounce you can feel the atmosphere and everything changes,' he said. 'Now we have four massive games we have to win, we've put ourselves in a good position to close the gap in the league, we're in the FA Cup semi-final and the Champions League quarter-final and it gives you a lot of confidence because a few weeks ago it didn't look like that.
'Because we've been together through so many situations over the past eight years and a lot of people remember those situations, we have the experience and we seem to cope with difficult situations quite well. Hopefully that will help us to reach our target at the end of the season.'
Roberto Mancini's side have hit a minor blip in recent weeks, slipping to second-place in the league, while seeing their European challenge dramatically extinguished by Sporting Lisbon last week.
However, they remain unbeaten on home soil in the league this season, and with Manchester United now four points clear at the top of the table, it's a game City can ill afford to lose. The Blues have failed to register a win at Eastlands since a 3-1 victory in 2008, but Cech insists the game is a must-win for both sides.
'They are at a moment where they will not be so happy because they got knocked out of the Europa League and lost top spot, Manchester United won again so they will need to win the game, but we want to close the gap on Tottenham,' said Cech.
'I think they have a fantastic squad, full of internationals, absolutely great players. They have had a few bad results but there's a long way to go and if they get three points against us they will still have a chance of winning the league.'