Petr Cech hailed our collective spirit after we survived a late Arsenal onslaught to hold on for three precious points at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

A brilliant first-half performance saw the Blues go in at the break with a 2-0 advantage thanks to Juan Mata’s 14th goal of the season and a Frank Lampard penalty, his 195th strike for the club.

However, after the visitors had hit back through Theo Walcott shortly before the hour mark, Arsene Wenger’s side sensed the game was turning in their favour, and it took a magnificent defensive effort late on to ensure we stood firm.

‘We made it very hard for ourselves in the second half because we started slowly and they took the initiative,’ said the Blues goalkeeper.

‘We had some very good counter-attacks where we could have killed the game off, but we didn’t do it and so we had to fight until the last second.

‘Credit to everyone; in a difficult moment, when we haven’t been doing so well, we managed to stick together and get the win, and that’s the most important thing.’

Following the disappointment of last Wednesday’s draw with Southampton, we came racing out of the blocks, and after Mata’s opener took total control of proceedings.

Once again, though, the away side were given hope, as Cech acknowledged.

‘It’s the same repeating story for us at home,’ said the 31-year-old. ‘We had a fantastic first half, but we should have killed the game off. We started the second half and all of a sudden everything wasn’t going as we planned.

‘We had to fight for the result. It was positive in the end, but we allowed them to come back into the game and in the last 10-15 minutes we had to defend.

‘Against Southampton we got punished, but against Arsenal we knew how to see the game out, so it was very positive and now it’s time to look forward.’

Our first home victory of 2013 was certainly hard-fought, and the manner of the win was made all the more impressive given the difficult conditions.

‘It was very cold but I’m glad the game was played,’ said Cech. ‘We saw the snow falling, but we’d prepared well and went into the game feeling confident.

‘The ball was more slippery than normal and the snow was quite sticky, but I’m from the Czech Republic so these conditions are not too unusual for me. I actually liked it as it reminded me of when I used to play back home during the winter.’

The season thus far has been a mixture of highs and lows, but Cech believes the youngsters in the squad can only benefit from their experiences.

He also expressed his delight at the news Ashley Cole is set to sign a one-year contract extension at Stamford Bridge.

‘We still have a very young side, the players gain more experience every day, but we have players who like to play, and sometimes you need to shut the door and see the game out,’ he said.

‘The nature of the players we have is to keep on playing, but the important thing is to improve, and it was an important win.

‘It’s great news; Ashley is still one of the best full-backs in the world and we want players like that to stay at the club as it shows we still have the ambition and motivation to challenge for everything, it’s great to see.’

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