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Petr Cech column: The importance of having the whole squad ready

With the fixtures coming thick and fast for Chelsea between two international breaks, our goalkeeping legend and current technical and performance advisor Petr Cech explains why it is so important that players are able to come in and out of the starting line-up while maintaining the highest levels.

When you come back from the internationals, you always have a lot of question marks over what state the players will come back in and you don’t have time to prepare and obviously we had a difficult game at Brentford.

For 70 minutes we were completely in charge and it was really nice to see other players coming in – you had Malang, Trevoh and Ruben starting, because they were the players who trained the two weeks while everybody else was travelling and playing for their national team. They stepped up and they had a very good game.

The last 20 minutes they threw everything at us and then these are the difficulties where you need to find the way to win. I always say winners win and winners find a way to win, and we did find a way to win in that game.

We had a great performance from Edou in those last 20 minutes, when he made very important and decisive saves, which is obviously brilliant, but I think this game and now these coming games and the schedule, which is very busy over the next few weeks, shows how important it is to have a competitive squad and everybody on board. With a lot of games coming up, you might have some injuries or suspensions, and you need players to be ready.

It’s always hard for the players when they play less, because everybody wants to play every game even though that is impossible, as with the congested schedule and a lot of games you need to have some time where you recover and recharge. But clearly people want to play as much as possible.

So I think it’s always the responsibility of the player to make sure that when they are playing less they work hard and train with the intensity to be ready to play games. I have to say it is a credit to every one of our players, because every time we have players coming into the team after some time when they have not played, they have done well. That’s the target for everybody.

That’s why it’s great to have a competitive squad. Of course it is harder for the players, because there is more competition and sometimes you have to start on the bench, so the issue is that you always have to disappoint someone every game. Unfortunately that’s the way it works in a top club in football.

On the other hand everybody gets to play because of the amount of games we have and the amount of competitions. We really need everybody and it’s good to see that so far when players get their games, they have performed.

I can remember when I was a player here how you support each other when people are not playing so much. Especially in the goalkeeping situation, it is very unique, so you support your colleague because you need to have the right level of competition and rivalry, but then you need to have the right level of support.

I think we always had that at the club and that was really good because ultimately it makes everyone perform better and everybody more valuable to the team.

Of course there were games where you felt tired and you think there is the next game coming up and it would be better if you have one game out, where all the pressure goes off, and then you come back in. That is where you need the players to be ready and show that they are ready every day, because then the manager has the option to put them in and knows they will perform.

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