English Premiership

Cech battles 'cold feet' to make winning return with Chelsea reserves

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Petr Cech (Getty Images)
Petr Cech (Getty Images)

Petr Cech returned to the pitch 18 months after retiring to help Chelsea's reserve team beat Tottenham's under-23 side on Monday despite conceding two early goals and grappling with nerves.

Chelsea's second string returned to the top of Premier League 2 after coming back from 2-0 down on 17 minutes to win 3-2 with three second-half goals.

"For the first 20 minutes, I struggled to find the automatic movements I had been used to," the 38-year-old goalkeeper said in an interview mediated by his Czech agent Sport Invest.

"But I adjusted to the pace of the game after 20 minutes and then I felt OK," added Cech, who has worked as Chelsea's technical director since his original retirement from top-level football in May 2019.

Cech was registered in the Blues' Premier League squad in October as a precaution in case coronavirus restrictions hit coach Frank Lampard's goalkeeping options.

"The game fulfilled its goal because this is exactly what I needed in case there is an emergency and I have to play in the Premiership," said Cech.

"It put me back on track as I could get back to the rhythm of the competition.

"I enjoyed the second half because I started to read the game like I used to and I felt well."

Cech, who kept a record 202 clean sheets in his 15 Premier League seasons with Chelsea and Arsenal, admitted he was nervous before the game.

"I have been working hard for a few months, but I haven't played a game for 18 months so I was naturally nervous before the game," said Cech, who had managed a single training session with the team on Sunday.

"You lose the rhythm and you don't know what to expect from yourself. Even though I knew I was ready, I got cold feet."

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