herald

Saturday 23 September 2017

Chelsea are still chasing trophies – Cech

Blues keeper hails Essien return and Cahill signing and insists on surge for silverware

PETR CECH has insisted Chelsea's season of transition is no excuse for them ending up empty-handed after seeing their squad bolstered by further reinforcements.

The past 48 hours have seen the Blues boosted both by the signing of Gary Cahill and the even more eagerly anticipated return of Michael Essien from injury.

Cahill was the fourth major capture |of the Andre Villas-Boas era as the Portuguese continues his rebuilding job at Stamford Bridge, one that has witnessed plenty of teething problems.

And while Villas-Boas bids to ensure Chelsea have adequate long-term replacements for the likes of John Terry, Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba, he will still be expected to win something.

The Blues have never gone two successive seasons without lifting a trophy since Roman Abramovich bought the club and goalkeeper Cech said: “We set a standard in recent years, and that's the way it is at a big club – especially here.

Transformation

“We want, ourselves, to win something. We don't want to go another season without trophies, so our aim is to end this season with silverware.

“We're doing everything in our power to achieve that, alongside the transformation and transition of the team. I think it will be a good year to build on for the future.”

Cech added: “You can see this team, there have been changes in recent years because you can't stop players ageing. It's normal in a top club that people change.

“We changed the manager and a bit of the philosophy, so it needs time.”

Essien's return will help smooth the transition, while Cahill will be expected to improve a defence which has been uncharacteristically brittle this season.

“They'll basically be two new players for us,” Cech said.

“It's been a tough time for Michael, getting injured again and again, and the cruciate ligament is not what you wish on any footballer.

“So big credit to the medical staff and especially to Michael for getting back so soon. It's great to have him back.

“With Gary, he's an international defender, an English defender, and you always welcome internationals into the fold because it improves the squad.”

Saturday's 1-0 win over Sunderland was Essien's first appearance of the season, following his latest bout of knee surgery last summer.

Unlucky

Cech said: “It's a great moment for everybody to have him back, not only because he's a great guy but now we have more numbers and more options.

“Any footballer who's been injured, two weeks out is already enough.

“He's been out for more than half a year, so that's obviously difficult.

“So give him more credit for coming back again.

“Nobody wants to see a player injured and he was unlucky, but he's a very strong guy, mentally and physically, which is why he was able to come back again.”

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