Nemanja Matic: I hope Petr Cech does not do for Arsenal what he did for Chelsea for 11 years

Midfielder first to express disappointment at sale of goalkeeper

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The Independent Online

Nemanja Matic has become the first Chelsea player to express his disappointment that veteran keeper Petr Cech was sold to rivals Arsenal.

Cech ended his 11-year stay at Stamford Bridge when he completed a £10m switch to Arsene Wenger’s side last month.

The Czech international, who won 13 major honours with Chelsea, asked to leave after losing his first team place to Thibaut Courtois.

Cech was desperate to stay in the capital because his family are settled and Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich rewarded the keeper for his loyal service by agreeing to the request.

He is now set to be Arsenal’s No1 for years to come and while Matic is delighted for his former team-mate on a personal basis, the Serbia midfielder fears it could come back to haunt the defending champions.

He said: “Petr is a great guy and a great keeper. It is going to be a very important signing for them. I am not happy because of that.

“We know that he is very professional. He is one of the best keepers. I hope this season he does not perform as he did here for 11 years.”

Chelsea have so far added only Asmir Begovic, as Cech’s replacement, and Radamel Falcao on loan from Monaco to the squad that won the League and Capital One Cup last term.

In contrast, Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool have spent considerably. All three are expected to bring in more players before the window closes, as will Arsenal.

Despite this, Matic has revealed that manager Jose Mourinho has challenged his players to win the quadruple next term and he believes the lack of activity at Stamford Bridge could still prove to be an advantage.

Matic added: “The manager said we have to win everything, so we know what we have to do. It doesn’t matter what is going to happen in this market - we are ready.

“Maybe other teams will sign lots of players but that is maybe worse for them. It is sometimes better to stay with the same team, for stability.

“We lost just four games in all competitions last season. If we do the same again next season, this will be enough to be champions. I know it will be difficult to repeat, but we will try to do it and maybe better.”

Matic’s self-belief is shared by his Serbia and Chelsea team-mate Branislav Ivanovic, who is unconcerned by Manchester City’s purchase of Raheem Sterling for an English record £49m.

Ivanovic said: “We know that they (City) will sign good players. They finished that deal, City want to play in an attacking way but we are ready for them.

“We have played against Sterling before and we know how good he is as an individual. But he will need a period to adapt to his new team.

“For me all the big teams, especially United and City want to be stronger, they are not happy about finishing behind us. They want to be champions and that’s why they are making big signings.

“We know that we have to be strong mentally and ready for extra pressure.”

Ivanovic has been at the club since 2008, but is going into the new campaign with less than a year left on his current contract.

Talks over an extension have not progressed, but the right back says he will not allow the uncertainty to distract him.

“I try to motivate myself,” he said. “I have been in this situation before. I know how difficult it is to win (the title) again so everything depends on results.

“That is what drives me and I will try and do better as an individual. For this club it is still early to talk about a new contract – there is still one year left.”