Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech believes there is still time for Chelsea to resurrect their ailing season.
The Blues’ current campaign has been marred by inconsistency which has seen them drop out of the Champions League at the group stage and trail Premier League leaders Manchester United by 11 points.
But despite their failures, Cech insists the Londoners can turn around their form with the 30-year-old citing the similarities of their current campaign with the start of last season which eventually turned into one of the club’s most memorable thanks to a Champions League and FA Cup double.
“It’s true that when you look back at 2012, there were many ups and downs. At the beginning of the year, we had some difficulties, especially in the Champions League. The manager changed in February. Everything was going badly but we managed to win the Cup and then the Champions League,” Cech said.
“Unfortunately, we did not start this season well. The manager changed again. We are already out of the Champions League and we can’t defend our title which is a shame. But at least we are in the Europa League and we are going to play it fully. It’s always important to win that kind of title.
“You can see now that we are coming back to our level. So I think 2013 will be more interesting. We could have a very interesting end to the season.”
Cech also praised the influence of manager Rafael Benitez since he joined the club after controversially replacing Roberto Di Matteo in November.
The keeper hailed the Spaniard’s perfectionism and also revealed he has been a key part of the team’s improved defensive displays.
“With him (Benitez) we try to do simple, basic things but with precision. He insists on precision,” he said.
“And we also defend much better as a team. We have a lot of offensive players and the defensive transition was not working for us. That’s why we conceded a lot of goals.
“It’s not always possible to score two or three to win the game in the end. Now, we are much better defensively. We press better so we have time to reorganise and get the ball back. I think today we reap the benefits of that.”
And after watching the club splash the cash on attacking talents such as Oscar and Eden Hazard in the off-season, along with the recent signing of Demba Ba, Cech has labelled the current crop of players at Stamford Bridge as the best he has played with.
However, he was quick to stress that the Blues’ vast array of offensive stars will not necessarily equate to positive results, as this season has so far demonstrated.
“I think that in terms of technical players, it’s probably the best Chelsea team I’ve been in,” Cech said.
“But like I said, here in England you need to find the right balance between good play and fighting spirit. Here you can’t win every game by just playing good football.
“Last year for instance, we have had games where we played well, and everyone was impressed, but we did not win in the end. It’s a bit special here in England: playing well does not always mean winning the game.”