CECH: NEW ERA
Petr Cech believes our new signings can play an important part in a new beginning at Chelsea.
We enter a forthcoming campaign as European champions for the first time in our history, but with a number of fresh young faces in the squad. Goalkeeper Cech, who is approaching his ninth season as a Chelsea player, believes Kevin De Bruyne, Marko Marin and Eden Hazard are settling well.
'I think they are getting used to the squad, the language and the atmosphere at the club,' said the 30-year-old.'It's a new era, a new way of working and thinking. So far so good, and we hope they are going to continue in the same direction and show they are great additions to the squad.
'It's great to see them enjoying themselves and I think they already feel settled. We need to try to welcome the new players, and they feel settled already so this is great.'
Cech is eagerly anticipating the challenges ahead, some of which we will be facing for the first time.
'After the success last season winning the Champions League, some players left and some players came. It will be the first season playing as European champions. We have a new manager, if you can say that, and we will look forward to the season,' he said.
'It promises a lot of excitement for everybody. There is a Super Cup, a World Club Cup, which we have never played before, and the prospect of challenging Man City, Man United and the other clubs. It's going to be big.
'There is extra pressure because everybody will take us as European champions and we have to prove ourselves, continue playing well and winning trophies, but on the other hand in the league we didn't do well at all last season so we can improve. There is an exciting project ahead of us and we would like to get other trophies.'
The man charged with bringing this silverware to Stamford Bridge is Roberto Di Matteo, who Cech considers the right appointment following his successes at the end of last season.
'When a manager takes charge and wins the FA Cup and Champions League it is a logical decision,' he said.' I wasn't surprised when it happened and for us players it is an advantage that we know him from last season.'
During his short break between the European Championships and reporting for pre-season and our summer tour of the States, Cech dropped in on his goalkeeping academy in his native Czech Republic, where youngsters between six and 15 from all over the world are taught the Cech way.
The initiative is now in its seventh year, and the Chelsea man hopes it can make a difference to these young lives.
'When I was at the age of these kids who are participating in this football camp, in my time there was not anything similar to this,' he explained. 'There were only usual summer camps and nothing focussed on football or sport. When I was a boy I would have enjoyed going to such a football camp so much. I never had the opportunity.
'I am here every year, it is a Petr Cech´s football academy, it is always at this time when I have free time. Thanks to the Euros the club gave me one extra free week, the rest of the team has been in training since the last week. So I always find two days to come and be with the children and share with them some of my experience, to offer them a chance to get my autograph or a picture. They come to meet me, to train with me. We fulfil their wishes every year, I am very happy about that.'
Now though, it is back to the day job, and some very serious preparations in Seattle before Wednesday's match against the Sounders.