This week, Petr Cech shares his views on the same day as a match and focuses on a home success before discussing two away days up north that come in quick succession, one against some very familiar faces…
I wrote a couple of weeks ago about the need to find a way to get over the disappointment of going out of the Champions League despite winning in the Bernabeu. Although the team then achieved the semi-final success against Crystal Palace, we also lost the game against Arsenal and then had another derby to play.That is why it was so good to win against West Ham who are in a great moment in their season with reaching the semi-finals of the Europa League. They came with confidence and it was a difficult game.We missed the penalty when you think you have a breakthrough towards the end of the game and it was a great reaction from everybody that after the penalty miss, the team didn't put their heads down but actually found another strength to find the winner. So I think that was great from everybody.
They were three very important points when you look at the table and our rivals trying to get into the top four. You always need to make sure that when others slip, you take advantage, or if they win, you win, so it was an important three points but also because we got back to winning ways at home.When you lose three in a row at home it's unusual and especially for us. Unfortunately we had a run where the games didn't go our away. We obviously made some mistakes and it was not the usual advantage we have at home which you always want no matter what situation you are in.You want to make sure you don't slip into some sort of habit of not taking advantage of home games so it was important for the feeling for everybody to win the next home game and it fell in a derby. The way the team did it against West Ham was very important.
Now we know we can look forward to the game in hand we have when we play at Manchester United today. We know they are in a difficult moment because they haven’t had the best run but still you know they play at home, they will try to finish strongly and it's a huge difference for any club to be involved in the Champions League or not be involved so it is an important game. It's always a rivalry and big game when Man United play against Chelsea so we expect another difficult match.We’ve had some memorable results at Old Trafford in the past so hopefully we can give ourselves some advantage over the chasing pack as well as keeping us closer to the top two. We would need a meltdown from those two over the last five games but we just need to keep winning and see where it takes us.
We have two big away games coming up and the second one at the weekend will obviously be a bit special for us as a club and as a team, playing against Everton led by Frank Lampard. Of course he has our ex-coaches Joe Edwards, Paul Clement and Chris Jones with him in. People closely connected to Chelsea Football Club will be on the other side, and for most of them it will be for the first time in the Premier League, so that’s going to make it a little special and it's a game where both teams have a big objective so it is going to be an interesting game.Old Trafford and Goodison Park are two famous stadiums and I always enjoyed playing at them both. At Old Trafford you always play a big game against a club who historically has been one of the most successful in England, so that was always something I was looking forward to as well as performing in a big stadium in front of a big crowd. I always had the feeling I had ahead of big games.
I looked forward to playing at Goodison Park because the fans there get right behind the team. It creates a strong atmosphere and players can feel how the crowd pushes the team but as well when you score as the away team, that silence that follows is hugely satisfying, with just the away fans cheering from one side.I also always enjoyed the games at Goodison Park as they were always physical and it was a challenge. I always remember going there thinking this is one of the oldest stadiums but it is also nice to be playing there.
Azpi's approaching landmark
I want to finish by mentioning that our captain Cesar is closing in on an unbelievable milestone. Next time he is on the team sheet he will captain Chelsea for the 200th time so we are looking forward to that and hopefully in my next column we can celebrate his landmark.