After equalling Peter Bonetti’s all-time club record of 208 clean sheets in Wednesday’s 3-0 win at Southampton, Petr Cech paid tribute to the former Chelsea goalkeeper.
While a third clean sheet in four games laid the foundations for an important victory at St Mary’s, for Cech, the shut-out proved extra significant, as he entered the record books alongside Bonetti, and he promised to toast the achievement with the man nicknamed ‘The Cat’.
‘It’s a pleasure as a personal achievement but I’m really glad all those clean sheets helped us win many trophies over the last nine-and-a-half years, that’s what I’m most pleased about,’ said Cech.
‘I think I will invite him for a drink; I’m stealing his record so I think this is the right moment. Peter is a great guy, every time we meet at the Bridge we have a few words , he’s very humble and human and that’s why he’s a proper legend.
‘He’s someone who enjoys the success of the club. He loves the club, you always see him around and that’s brilliant.’
Cech went on to praise our strikers for their recent contributions, with Fernando Torres’s opener against the Saints following the winner scored by Samuel Eto’o against Liverpool.
‘It’s great to start the year like that, hopefully they will continue to bang goals in away and home,’ he said. ‘Samuel scored an important one at home, Fernando scored an important one at Southampton and it’s great for them.
‘They have been working really hard for the team, sometimes the stats are not the only valuable element, you have to look at how the player works for the team and how tactically he works during games. They’ve both been brilliant and now they’ve got their reward with the goals.’
The Chelsea goalkeeper reflected on an impressive festive period for the Blues, citing our defensive solidity as a key factor.
‘We are improving game by game, this was a very good performance at both ends,’ explained Cech.
‘Over Christmas it was important not to concede goals but also to score goals at the other end. We did really well in a very difficult period, we got most of the points we wanted and that was our target.’
One of our key performers in recent weeks has been Willian, who followed an impressive showing against Liverpool with an influential display at St Mary’s after coming off the bench.
The Brazilian scored his second goal for the club to make it 2-0 with a brilliant strike, and Cech was full of praise for the 25-year-old.
‘He came from Anzhi Makhachkala where he was unlucky with injuries so he didn’t play much, but you could see from day one he came over here and is working really hard, he’s waited for his chances and now he’s taking them.’