CECH: TIME TO CLIMB
Petr Cech marked his return to the side after injury with a clean sheet at Stoke and after the match spoke of goals scored at important stages.
The keeper had missed the previous three matches having come off at half-time at Everton at the end of December but was back for the 4-0 win over Tony Pulis's side, who had held Chelsea to draws on our previous two visits to the Britannia Stadium.
All was square again on Saturday as stoppage time was being played at the end of the first half. Then Stoke forward Jonathan Walters headed in to his own net to break the deadlock.
'We had to be patient but in the last 10 minutes of the first half we put Stoke under pressure and unfortunately for them they could not hold that pressure until the end of the half,' said Cech.
'It made a difference because coming out for the second half, suddenly you know you have a 1-0 advantage and then they had to open the game a little bit more and we punished them for that. They scored another unfortunate own goal but we had a good performance and we deserved to win the game.'
Another Walters own goal plus a Frank Lampard penalty and an Eden Hazard strike, his seventh of the season, inflicted Stoke's biggest home defeat since they were promoted to the Premier League in 2008. They had also gone 17 games since losing in the league on their patch.
'We were aware of their home record and we knew it was a very difficult game to play, and we did really well,' said Cech.
'We were organised and we scored goals at a good time, and that is what gives you three points in a difficult game.
'Frank [Lampard] had a very good game and could have added another of his trademark goals because he had two chances inside the box, and I think everybody had a fantastic game.
'Frank may not start every game but if he plays he plays well with his quality and his experience. JT played 45 minutes in the Under-21 game last week and on Saturday he came in to the game and it is good to have him back. It is important to have everyone available because there are a lot of games coming up.'
That begins with the rearranged home match against Southampton on Wednesday evening, and as Cech warned, there is no time to rest on the laurels of the weekend win.
'We have a game in hand when we must target another three points and then a big game against Arsenal at home coming up, and if we have those wins then the table will look different for us.
'This is a great win against Stoke but if you don't confirm that by winning three points at home then you waste it, and we don't want to do that, we want to climb up the table again.
'Against QPR we had all the chances and all the possession and we conceded a goal out of nowhere, and that is sometimes the way football goes. It is a pity because with three more points it would look better.
'When you play at home everybody expects a big win like Aston Villa 8-0, and then suddenly the game against QPR came and people didn't like it and that is football. The next game if we win, the crowd will be behind us again.'
Tickets for Wednesday evening's game at home to Southampton are now on general sale.