Cech fires warning to rookies
Petr Cech has warned Chelsea's rookies that inexperience is no excuse for failure to demonstrate the same iron will as their team-mates.
The European champions have a chance to make some more history this week when they aim to become just the second English club to win the Club World Cup. Chelsea arrived in Japan on Sunday having emerged from their worst winless run in the Premier League for 15 years, a sequence that played a huge part in Roberto Di Matteo's sacking as manager. The Blues spent the summer dismantling and rebuilding their Champions League-winning squad, with young attacking talents like Eden Hazard, Oscar and Victor Moses replacing war-horses such as Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou. Suspension and injuries to John Terry and Frank Lampard robbed them of even more experience down the spine of the team, coinciding with a series of limp performances that led to a dressing-room row at West Brom last month. As captain in the absence of Terry and Lampard, Cech would have been at the heart of the inquest, the latest of many to have taken place during his eight-year career at the club. He said:
"It's not about shouting and screaming and hard words - it's the right balance to remind people where they are, about what you want to achieve and what we should do to improve.
"You can use different words but it's not about how many times you start with the F-words. "It's about people who should feel the responsibility for the situation and feeling the responsibility to get out of it.
"It's easy to say, 'I'm new and young, I'm looking away from it'. Everybody is responsible and has to help the team get out of the situation.
"But really you just need to find the right way to do it." He added:
"It's not about one or two games, it's not about the past. It's about the present and future and the hard work every day at the training ground.
"That is underestimated. If you get to the point where something is changing in the team, that's not only because of one result."
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich's decision to dispense with Di Matteo and appoint Rafael Benitez as interim manager could hardly have been more unpopular. The jeers, abuse and protest placards aimed at the former Liverpool boss have been impossible to ignore. But Cech, who stands closest to supporters due to his position on the pitch, said:
"To be fair, when I'm on the pitch I have my zone, which is the barrier set by the goalline and the touchlines.
"Whatever happens behind, I don't really pay much attention to. It's not like I wouldn't like the atmosphere.
"I can hear the atmosphere, I can hear the noise and, if it's big, I know if the supporters are bawling or not.
"But I don't know whether it is home or away fans because I am in the zone.
"I've been always playing in that zone. Even my mum could stand behind the goal and I wouldn't know she was there. I wouldn't notice. I'm not watching.
"People say to me, 'Did you see when I was waving at you?' But, no chance. I don't see anything outside the pitch.
"I hear the noise but I don't concentrate on the crowd and what they are shouting and screaming. I don't get into this box."
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