Saturday 24 March 2018

We've made it complicated for ourselves with Basel slip-up -- Cech

Petr Cech knows Chelsea were not at the races against Newcastle
Petr Cech knows Chelsea were not at the races against Newcastle

Jamie Holland

Petr Cech has admitted Chelsea have made their lives more complicated by succumbing to Basel for a second time in Champions League Group E.

Blues manager Jose Mourinho had targeted a win in Switzerland to render the result in next month's final group match with Steaua Bucharest meaningless, but now his side must win to be certain of top spot in the standings.

Cech's performance in goal was the one bright aspect of the game as Chelsea, who failed to muster a meaningful effort on goal, stumbled to qualification for the last 16 only as a result of Schalke's draw in Romania.

"We could have made it clear," Cech said. "We've made it a bit more complicated for ourselves.

"We wanted to come home from Basel with the qualification in our pocket; we have qualification, but we want to finish first."


Chelsea play nine games next month, beginning with Sunday's visit of Southampton in the Premier League, and Mourinho had hoped just eight of them would be fully competitive.

Instead, the Steaua match is important despite Chelsea achieving something they failed to do last term, when they became the first Champions League holders to exit in the group phase.

When Basel won at Stamford Bridge in September -- ending Chelsea's near 10-year unbeaten run at home in the Champions League group stages -- it appeared Mourinho's side might suffer the same fate they did last season.

But they responded by winning 4-0 at Steaua and twice beating Schalke 3-0, leaving many to believe a win at St Jakob Park would be a formality.

Mourinho said: "(In Basel) they found us in a moment of some relaxation because we had already nine points, we are almost there.

"We were not under pressure like we were when we played in Bucharest or against Schalke. I think we paid the price."

Irish Independent

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