Petr Cech Image 3
PETR CECH says it only took new Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo one game to work his magic on his old club.
The Italian won his first game in charge last month as he guided the Blues into the FA Cup quarter-finals with victory at Birmingham City.
It was the first of four straight wins for Di Matteo as he enjoyed a superb start in the Premier League as well as in Europe with a memorable win over Napoli.
Cech has been impressed with the new Chelsea chief’s stewardship and pinpointed his debut victory at St Andrew’s as a major turning point.
“I think that the first game made a massive difference,” Cech told the Chronicle. “When we went to Birmingham away, it was his first game in charge, in the FA Cup Replay and we managed to win the game, which was really difficult.
“I think that’s why the situation changed. The importance of that game, and we had another home game straight away where we managed to beat Napoli in a fantastic game, I think this makes the difference.”
Chelsea had sacked Andre-Villas Boas just two days earlier after a disappointing run that saw the club pick up three league wins in 12 games.
With Villas-Boas barely out of the door, Di Matteo was thrust into the breach as he was named first-team coach on an interim basis until the end of the season.
Cech believes the significance of the club’s victories since his appointment, such as the remarkable turnaround against Napoli, have gone a long way to restoring confidence at Stamford Bridge.
He added: “When you have a run of good games the confidence comes back and everything changes. The positive results made a big difference in what we used to experience before.
“The importance of the result helps a lot. If you do the right things at the training ground as we’ve been doing all season, I think with Andre [Villas-Boas] we’ve been doing good things.
“Training was of a top standard [under Villas -Boas]. He’s one of the coaches which knows a lot about football. Unfortunately, the results were not there, and then it becomes an issue when you still do the right thing but can’t win a game.
“It makes a massive difference when you have three or four games in a row where you play well and you win. The change is big because the mood changes.”
The Chelsea goalkeeper will be hoping Di Matteo can continue to build on his early success by booking his side’s place in the Champions League semi-finals with victory over Benfica on Wednesday.
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