Cech: Chelsea can make history
Chelsea keeper Petr Cech has urged his team-mates to 'make some history' by adding Europa League glory to their lengthy list of trophy triumphs.
Cech insists the reigning European champions cannot take the second string UEFA competition lightly after their early demise from the Champions League, trying to find a silver lining in their demotion to Thursday night fixtures.
"We know we should have been playing earlier this week, but you can always find positives in a negative moment," Cech told reporters ahead of his side's clash with Sparta Prague.
"It's not great that we're playing in the Europa League, but we are now involved and we have the chance to win a competition the club has never won. We can win it and become one of the teams who have won every competition, so we see this as an opportunity to make some history."
Czech Republic 'keeper Cech is relishing the chance to play back in his homeland and is convinced that Sparta Prague will be highly motivated for a fixture he describes as 'the most important of their lives.'
"The game against us will be their first competitive match since December," said Cech, of a Sparta side who have been enjoying their mid-season break. "They have trained a month for this game, just thinking about this one game.
"They are a team with a good blend of young, hungry players and experienced ones. This will be the biggest game of their careers, so that's a danger because they will want to show they can do well against us."
Meanwhile, Chelsea boss Rafael Benitez admits 'it is a problem' that striker Fernando Torres is being forced to play in so many games as he struggles to find his form, with the absence of the cup-tied Demba Ba forcing the Spanish tactician to look for possible alternative striking options.
"It's a problem, but we'll try to keep Fernando fit, playing well and hopefully scoring goals," said Benitez. "'If we have to manage in a different way because we don't have him for any reason, we will have to and we have Victor Moses coming back, who can also play as a striker.
"The perception is that Fernando hasn't scored goals, but he already has 15. He was scoring at the beginning of the season and then again when I just arrived. He hasn't scored for a couple of games, but he was playing as a lone striker for a long time.
"I said when we signed Demba Ba it would be good for him because if you rest one of them they can be fit for the next game, but I think he will start scoring goals again. Hopefully it can happen against Sparta."
Chelsea captain John Terry could return to face Sparta after missing the Premier League win over Wigan last weekend, but Victor Moses and Jon Obi Mikel have been left back in London, as they have been given time to recover following their African Cup of Nations triumph with Nigeria last weekend.