Cech - Why we tried to play out from the back

Petr Cech

Petr Cech was one of our standout performers against Manchester City on Sunday.

The goalkeeper made a string of solid stops - including a fine double save in the first half - and his handling was safe throughout.

Ultimately, Cech ended up on the losing side against a highly-accomplished City. Here’s his take on the game:

on Manchester City and the team’s performance…
They’re a team that’s full of confidence and last year’s champions, so obviously it will always be difficult, but I have to say that we came to the game with our objectives to grow up as a team, to learn our way, how we want to play and obviously we had the task of doing it against one of the best teams, so it was difficult. But at times we did really well, and we put them under some pressure as well. Unfortunately, we just couldn’t find that final pass to finish the opportunities off.

on if he felt that we struggled to play out from the back…
They pressed really well and obviously when you make one pass slower than it should be the player doesn’t have the time to use the ball quickly. Obviously you can be under pressure but at times we managed to get out pretty well. We didn’t want them to feel comfortable and have the ball always at their feet so that they could control the game.

on Guendouzi…
He’s a very talented player and he had an unbelievable pre-season for a boy who comes from the second division [in France]. It’s a big difference and throughout the pre-season I think he deserved his spot in the starting XI for his work and the quality that he put on the pitch. He had a difficult task but I thought that he did really well.

on whether City could have scored more…
Well, it could have been more, and it could have been us as well! I thought that in the second half we managed to force them into making some mistakes with their build-up, and we had some opportunities to counter-attack, but unfortunately we couldn’t find another killer pass. In the last 30 yards we lacked a little bit of invention to have a good touch and finish the action off, but when you play against a team with such quality and confidence, it was always going to be difficult.

But I thought that we tried to keep the ball and not give it to them so that they couldn’t control the whole game, and in the end I thought we did pretty well, so it’s a shame that we couldn’t finish some of the half-chances from our counter-attacks in the second half. Overall it’s obviously a defeat and we are disappointed with that. We have to realise that it’s our first game together like that with a new head coach and a new way of playing, so I think it’s going to help us to grow.

on Emery asking him to play out of defence…
I have to say that I enjoy it because I played under different managers with different styles and over most of my career I was always asked to play long, so this is a pleasant change for me and it will be very useful when you want to beat a team who controls the game through possession. You need to create the superiority in the back when you build up and obviously today they are very used to playing a high press and they did it very well. At times they put us under pressure but I think we did pretty well over the course of the game.

on how much people can read into today’s result…
It’s a defeat which is obviously disappointing. I felt that we had a very good pre-season and we prepared really well for the game and we believed that we could get something out of the game, but as I said, with their quality in the final third they found two opportunities and they scored. We couldn’t match them there. We had some very good moves but unfortunately the killer pass was missing.


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