Petr Cech: Champions League failure spurred Chelsea on this season
Petr Cech claims Chelsea's failure to navigate their way out of their Champions League group has been a source of motivation
Petr Cech claims Chelsea’s failure to navigate their way out of their Champions League group has been a source of motivation for the Blues ahead of the Europa League final.
Chelsea take on Benfica in Amsterdam on Wednesday night looking to win Europe’s second tier club competition a year on from their triumph over Bayern Munich in last year’s Champions League final.
The west Londoners were parachuted down into the Europa League after Christmas – and goalkeeper Cech believes his side have drawn motivation from their disappointing exit.
He said: “For us the disappointment was big when you drop out of the Champions League because it was not the way we wanted the season to go, but that disappointment drove us through the campaign.
“We used it as motivation to do well in this competition.”
Despite squandering their first six shots at silverware this season, Chelsea have all but secured their place in next season’s Champions League with victory over Aston Villa on Saturday.
“We had a few targets this season and not every time we managed to fulfil them, but the big one is the spot in the league that gets us to the Champions League for next season,” Cech added.
“Now this is a massive game for the football club and we would like to make history by winning the game. By making history in Europe you always remember the season as a successful one.”
Benfica v Chelsea: Pre-match facts
• The sides met for the first time last season when Roberto Di Matteo’s Chelsea won 1-0 in Lisbon and 2-1 at home to eliminate Jorge Jesus’s men in the quarter-finals en route to winning the Champions League.
• Benfica’s record in 31 games against English clubs in European competition is W10 D5 L16. They have already beaten Premier League opponents in this season’s Europa League, eliminating Newcastle United in the quarter-finals.
• Benfica go into the final having played exactly twice as many European games as their rivals: 362 to Chelsea’s 181.
• Chelsea could become the first team to win Uefa’s top two club competitions in reverse order in successive campaigns.