With Chelsea today taking on a Manchester United side already crowned league champions, Petr Cech has been contrasting our campaign with that of the Old Trafford club.
The Blues start the game 20 points behind our opponents albeit with a game in hand, and although of more immediate importance are Arsenal who are two points ahead having played two matches more and Spurs, who share our 65-point total having played one extra game, the target is to close the gap to the top next season.
‘We did quite well in the big games but we dropped too many points in the games where we shouldn’t have,’ said Cech about this league campaign.
‘This is where we will count the loss of the season. We had so many games when we were 2-0 up or near the end and we were winning and we dropped points. This is where it cost us in challenging the Manchester teams.
‘Manchester United kept the consistency,’ he further noted, ‘and to win the title you need to have the consistency. You don’t have to play nice football at times, you need to grab the points and there were times this season when they didn’t have a particularly great game but they were professional and they knew how to kill the game off.
‘They scored the goal at the right time, they knew how to defend it and that is where we can see the difference. Man City had the same sort of season we had, they dropped points in the places nobody expected.
‘The frustration is there because we know we are capable of playing really good games and beating anyone but every time we seemed to get back into the title race, we seemed to drop points the next game and it is a pity.’
Cech and the rest of the squad are naturally well aware of the importance of Wednesday’s match at Stamford Bridge with Spurs having already won their weekend game, but games cannot be considered in isolation at this stage of the season.
‘The Tottenham game might be the one because it is a head-to-head game but we will see in which circumstances we go into it because the weekend result can change a lot of things, but whichever team wins the derby will have a good position to not miss the Champions League spot.’
Our goalkeeper has also spoken about Rafael Benitez’s work with the squad.
‘We are in a final and we have got better defensively and we are still scoring goals,’ Cech said. ‘It was not an easy job for him, he came in in difficult circumstances and he has been doing really well.
‘You could see from day one Rafa Benitez came with exactly the same desire as we had to win as many games as we could possibly win and to do the best. We are living in a world where people can have their own opinion about things but the only thing you can control is your performances and it is up to the people to judge after the end.’
Cech also believes Frank Lampard’s goalscoring will make Chelsea history.
‘There are still games to be played and we still need goals to win things, and I am sure he is more than capable of getting one goal at least, so I believe he will do it this season.’