Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech says that his side will have to be at their very best if they are to make a winning start to their Champions League campaign, according to Goal.
The Italian champions have made an impressive start to the Serie A campaign this season winning all three games thus far.
Cech knows that their opponents will come out the blocks strongly, “We’re playing Juventus, who have been missing from the Champions League for a few seasons, so they will definitely want to show they are back.”
The 30-year-old realises that the Italian side will be looking to avenge for their exit at the hands of Chelsea three years ago, “Last time we played them we beat them in the knockout stages [in 2009], so this is a chance for them to get revenge for that defeat.”
The Czech also admits that being the holders comes with an added pressure, “Anybody who plays against us will want to raise their game, we are the defending champions so its extra motivation for everybody.”
Avoiding defeat is essential for the European Champions tonight as travelling to Denmark to face FC Nordsjaelland and to Ukraine to face Shakhtar Donetsk in their next two games will seem all the more of a difficult proposition. The Blues will also not want a repeat of last season which saw them have to beat Valencia on the final round of group games to qualify.
The Chelsea stopper says that whilst ideally they would like to qualify before they entertain FC Nordsjaelland in their final group game, it is not essential, “The sooner you can qualify from the group, the better it is.” Cech added, “But whether you qualify on the last day or the first day it’s not important, the main thing is just to get through. If we win every home game and lose every away game but win the Champions League, it doesn’t really matter.”
The Premier League leaders will need to improve upon their poor away record last season in the competition after only recording one victory (excluding the final in Munich). Cech knows that in order to defend their title they will need to win more games on the road, “We want to improve, though, because in all of our away games last season we were in a good position but failed to kill the match off, so that’s definitely an area we want to build on to make our life easier.”
Chelsea’s European season didn’t get off to the best of starts with a 4-1 defeat against Spanish outfit Atletico Madrid in the Super Cup. Cech admits that his side will need to be tighter at the bag against the top teams later on in the competition, “It’s always better if you can keep a clean sheet in the Champions League as it relieves the pressure.”