Mourinho hails ousted keeper Cech

AFP
Chelsea's Czech goalkeeper Petr Cech pictured during a friendly against Olimpija Ljubljana at the Stozice stadium in Ljubljana on July 27, 2014
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London (AFP) - Jose Mourinho has praised Petr Cech for the goalkeeper's reaction to being left out of Chelsea's opening Premier League game of the season.

Cech, the club's number one since arriving at Stamford Bridge in 2004, sat on the bench during the 3-1 opening day victory at Burnley, with Thibaut Courtois named in the starting line-up.

The Czech international's omission has raised doubts about the player's future at the club and Mourinho admits Cech is unlikely to be happy with the situation.

But the manager insists he wants Cech to stay, and insists the keeper will play a more prominent part in his plans when Chelsea's Champions League and Capital One cup campaigns begin.

"He is a top professional," Mourinho said of Cech on Friday. "He is working as always, behaving as always, being a group man as always, being a Chelsea person as always.

"Is he totally happy? I don't believe. But it's not just him. It's everyone who didn't start the game," the Portuguese added.

- 'Easier period' -

"This period is hard for them, for me, because it's a period with one match per week.

"So for the first three matches, they clearly feel that some are playing more and some don't.

"But in September, with the Capital One (League) Cup, Premier League, Champions League, three matches a week, everyone playing, rotation, resting, decisions... that's an easier period for them and an easier period for me in the sense everyone feels much better.

“Now, in these first three matches, some are not playing and they feel more (bad). But Petr's behaviour is fantastic, and that's important.”

Chelsea will bid to make it two wins out of two when newly-promoted Leicester visit Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

And Mourinho accepts winning will make the task of maintaining the morale of Cech and the other players who have found themselves out of the starting line-up that much simpler.

He added: "If you win it's easier because victories bring happiness to everyone, not just those on the pitch.

"If you win, the week after a victory is a good week for everyone. When you play in every competition, like here at Chelsea, and you want to compete in every competition, it's easier. This period is the most difficult."

Mourinho admitted some players may consider their future at Chelsea but he insisted any transfer dealings would be conducted for the benefit of the club.

"We have to think about the players, and the players deserve respect and co-operation from us as a club, but the club is the most important thing.

"For me, football is about club, team, players, managers... so I am the last one in the list. The club is the most important thing. Then the team. Then the players.

"We cannot give players things and put them in front of the team or the club. It must always be the other way round. Every decision is about the club and the team

"But, obviously, if you can make it good for club, team and also players, that's the perfect situation."

Chelsea's performance at Burnley reinforced the view they are among the favourites to finish top, but Mourinho maintains the opening week of the season gave few clues regarding the likely destiny of the Premier League title.

"The results in the first matches were very clear: draws, 1-0 wins, 2-1 wins. Just us and Man City with two goals' difference.

"Everything was very tight and difficult. If you play the top of your game like we did, not for 90 minutes but for some periods, you have a chance to win. If you don't, you're in trouble."

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