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Jan, 22, 2013

Cech: Veterans still key for Chelsea

Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech has hailed the club's decision to hand Ashley Cole a contract extension and insists there is still a place for the club's veteran performers in a new-look Blues line-up.

• Blog: Chelsea edge past Gunners
• Cahill harbours title ambitions

Cole's new deal caught many observers by surprise as he was widely expected to leave Stamford Bridge next summer, but Cech believes the move to retain the services of the 32-year-old was shrewd.

"Ashley's new deal is great news," Cech told the Chelsea website. "He is still one of the best full-backs in the world and we want players like that to stay at the club as it shows we still have the ambition and motivation to challenge for everything, it's great to see.

"We still have a very young side. The players gain more experience every day, but we have players who like to play and sometimes you need to shut the door and see the game out. The nature of the players we have is to keep on playing, but the important thing is to improve."

After Rafael Benitez's men returned to winning ways at Stamford Bridge with a 2-1 win against local rivals Arsenal on Sunday, Cech suspects the victory could be a crucial turning point in the club's turbulent season.

"Credit to everyone because in a difficult moment, when we haven't been doing so well, we managed to stick together and get the win against Arsenal," Cech said. "We made it very hard for ourselves in the second half because we started slowly and they took the initiative.

"We had some very good counter-attacks where we could have killed the game off, but we didn't do it and so we had to fight until the last second.

"It's the same repeating story for us at home. We had a fantastic first half, but we should have killed the game off. We started the second half and all of a sudden everything wasn't going as we planned.

"We had to fight for the result. It was positive in the end, but we allowed them to come back into the game and in the last few minutes we had to defend. Against Southampton we got punished (in a 2-2 draw), but against Arsenal we knew how to see the game out. It was very positive and now it's time to look forward."

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