Benfica v Chelsea, Europa League Final: Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech happy to count the cups amid upheavals

Chelsea goalkeeper points to 10 trophies on eve of Benfica clash, compared with none won by 'stable' Arsenal

Amsterdam

The Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech has questioned whether his club need "stability" when it comes to keeping a manager for the long term, comparing their record to that of rivals Arsenal as he prepares to play for his 11th trophy in nine years in tomorrow night's Europa League final.

The game against Benfica will be Cech's 12th final at Chelsea, including those defeats last year in the Fifa Club World Cup and SuperCup finals, a remarkable record for a goalkeeper who joined in 2004, the same summer as Jose Mourinho. In the same period, Cech has played for eight different managers and will learn the identity of the ninth in the next few weeks.

 

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Asked whether the club might benefit from a long-term manager, especially given the changes at Manchester United and Manchester City this summer, Cech said: "It's very hard to say, if you see the stability and organisation and the control Arsenal have it's amazing, but if you ask their fans about the last eight years, they'd say they've not won anything and they don't like that.

"In a way, we can always say we'd have liked to have had more stability, but we always seem to get a trophy. Our fans may say, 'Yes, we'd like to see more stability, but we'd rather have the cups'. It's very hard to choose. The ideal situation is the Manchester United scenario where you have the same manager and you win a large number of trophies. That is the ideal situation. But we seem to prove all these things wrong."

He added: "The easiest way to cure the problem is to shock [ie, shock therapy], and to change the manager. You can't change 20 players in the middle of the season. You just can't. So it becomes dangerous for the manager if you have a spell where nothing is working. Unfortunately, we've experienced that a few times and the result each time was that the manager left.

"Every time, though, you can see the reaction of the team. How often we try to get over the situation and improve things. Obviously, maybe the new manager always helps. It's very hard to say. You don't really want to change managers, this is absolutely clear. But to go this way last year was unfortunate."

The Chelsea interim coach, Rafa Benitez, said originally that John Terry, Eden Hazard and Ryan Bertrand all of whom travelled to Amsterdam, would not be fit to play. He revised his opinion later, claiming Terry would be assessed this morning. The club captain trained on his own on the pitch here last night.

It is expected that Frank Lampard will start the game and captain the side. Should Chelsea win it is anticipated that captain John Terry will lift the trophy with Lampard and, if he is on the pitch, Uefa regulations dictate that he will have to wear the team kit as he did in the Champions League celebrations a year ago in Munich.

The absence of Hazard will potentially open up a place for Victor Moses on the right side of the attacking three who play behind Fernando Torres. There is a possibility that Ramires could be moved from holding midfield to play on the right side, which would require David Luiz to come into midfield and would open up a place for Gary Cahill alongside Branislav Ivanovic in central defence.

Having made all but certain of Champions League football next season, Benitez has fulfilled the main objective set for him when he took over in November. Nevertheless, the club are scheduled to fly back to Gatwick, arriving in the early hours, in order to give them more preparation time for their final game of the season against Everton on Sunday.

Benitez said: "For a team in transition, achieving semi-finals and finals is quite an achievement... you don't have time to do everything that you wanted to do, with the new players, and the young players. But I think it has been great at the end."

 

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