Carlo Cudicini has been looking ahead to what he hopes will be an entertaining game against Arsenal on Saturday, as well as paying tribute to Petr Cech following the news his former Chelsea team-mate will be retiring at the end of the season.
Cudicini and Cech, who were team-mates at Stamford Bridge for five years, remain close friends to this day, and the Italian recalled how they brought the best out of each other during their period together at Chelsea.
‘We were fighting for one place and we always gave 120 per cent because we knew if we weren’t able to do our job somebody else would have stepped in,’ Cudicini told Chelsea TV.
‘I tried to push Petr very hard when he was playing, trying to make sure his concentration was always top, and I’m sure that he thought to do the same when I was playing in cups and other games.
‘It’s easy to get along well with Petr because he’s such a smart guy, an intelligent guy. He has so many hobbies so we developed a friendship which is still there, still strong and hopefully it will carry on to be like that.’
Cudicini, our current assistant first team coach, highlighted Cech’s quality during the 2004/05 season, his first at the club, when we conceded just 15 goals on our way to becoming champions.
‘If you think, in his first season he was still very young,’ he explained. ‘I said many times that it’s never easy to make the transition between other leagues and the Premier League and he was unbelievable. He had the record for clean sheets and it was a brilliant season.’
Cech, of course, is now an Arsenal player having moved across the capital in the summer of 2015, and he is expected to be on the bench for the home side when we travel to the Emirates on Saturday for an important game.
We overcame the Gunners at Stamford Bridge earlier in the season, with Marcos Alonso scoring the decisive goal in a 3-2 victory, and a win this weekend would increase our lead over the Gunners to nine points.
‘It’s going to be a great game, for sure,’ said Cudicini. ‘It’s two teams who have changed their managers and are playing with a new philosophy. The positions in the table are interesting, it’s (the gap between the sides) only six points.
‘In recent years there have been some entertaining games between the two teams so hopefully it will be the same this time.’