Chelsea v Atlético Madrid: Carlo Ancelotti backs 'risktaking' goalkeeper Petr Cech
Cech is under fresh scrutiny following errors against Stoke City and, last Saturday, Aston Villa which led to headed goals. Both goals also came from set-pieces (Stoke’s from a throw-in) – which have now accounted for six of the eight league goals Chelsea have conceded this season. Cech has been criticised before and last season suffered a crisis of confidence under former manager Luiz Felipe Scolari especially when the Brazilian demanded a change to the goalkeeper’s training technique. Scolari also fell out with goalkeeping coach Christophe Lollichon. Ancelotti said he was unconcerned by Cech’s errors as Chelsea prepare to face Atletico Madrid in the Champions League this evening. “Petr is in good condition,” he said. “I think that Petr has a fantastic approach. He takes a lot of risks because he likes to go up and catch the ball. I like this. Sometimes he makes mistakes, but I want him to go and catch the ball in the air.” Arsene Wenger, with some justification, used to make a similar defence of the former Arsenal goalkeeper Jens Lehmann and it is undeniable that the best keepers – including Edwin van der Sar and Pepe Reina – do sometimes make errors because they try to command their penalty areas rather than stay on their goal-lines. There will be even more scrutiny at Stamford Bridge tonight over how Cech and his teammates deal with corners and free-kicks with Ancelotti revealing that the squad had spent all day Monday trying to eradicate their mistakes and working on their defensive play. Ancelotti also revealed how he expects Chelsea to defend corners – which they failed to do so effectively against Villa who scored both their goals last Saturday from Ashley Young’s delivery. “We have to improve,” Ancelotti said. “We have to pay attention on set plays in the game. We have two players, one on each post. One player is in front of the near post - that is (Frank) Lampard. And five players to mark, man for man. Everybody has his own responsibility - to mark, to stay in his zone or go for the ball. Everybody has a job and a responsibility; everyone. Not just one player. I think it is very important that every player takes responsibility for what happens in our box.” A victory for Chelsea would take them to nine points, from three matches, and cement their domination of Group D. Atletico, who are struggling badly this season, despite boasting a forward line of Sergio Aguero and Diego Forlan, have just one point after their home draw against Apoel Nicosia having also lost away to Porto.
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