Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech wants his teammates to revive their deteriorating campaign by winning at home to Birmingham City in the FA Cup tomorrow – a feat that he realizes won’t be easy to accomplish.
Birmingham suffered relegation last year but the Championship outfit has managed to become somewhat of a cup specialist, claiming the Carling Cup at Arsenal’s expense at Wembley 12 months ago and now looking to send another London club packing out of the FA Cup.
Furthermore, Cech fully recalls how a Lee Bowyer goal condemned Chelsea to a disappointing 1-0 defeat in one of their Premier League fixtures against the Midlands outfit last season.
With no more room for error in a season that has already been the club’s worst in the Roman Abramovich era, Cech wants to start afresh with a win that brings his side back on track.
“You can see everybody is willing to change the situation we are in. The FA Cup is a perfect occasion to bounce back after the defeat at Everton where we didn’t play well,” said Cech, who reportedly came in for some personal criticism following the Blues’ 2-0 loss at Goodison Park.
The Czech Replublic international added: “It’s a different competition, a different pressure and atmosphere in the cup games, so it is the perfect time.
“Birmingham is not our favourite team to play, more so away at St Andrews where we have struggled, and we lost there last season but now we are at home and we want to win, we want to progress to win the FA Cup, so the only result acceptable is a win because we do not want a replay.”
After entertaining Chris Hughton’s side this weekend, Chelsea will quickly switch gears to prepare for next week’s Champions League outing against Napoli in the UEFA Champions League.
Many have suggested that the hype surrounding European competitions and of course, the increasingly competitive Barclays Premier League, has reduced the significance of the FA Cup in recent years.
Liverpool defender Martin Kelly quickly rubbished the notion and now Cech has also offered his views on English football’s oldest cup competition.
The 29-year old explained: “I really like playing in the FA Cup, at Stamford Bridge you have more away supporters so the fans sing more at each other, it makes it special and you know you have to get it right on the day, otherwise you have failed.
“We’ve won it a few times and we know how sweet it is. The memories are always great and this is the oldest competition in the football world, so it is so prestigious and always great to be involved.”
Having beaten QPR 1-0 in the previous round, Chelsea are one of the handful of teams representing London in the FA Cup and considering that Arsenal is practically out of the UEFA Champions League, the Blues are also the only English team still alive in Europe’s most elite club competition.