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Real escape with hope of progress

What the papers say
By ESPN Staff

Cech: Chelsea have never been stronger

Petr Cech believes Chelsea are stronger now than when they were crowned Premier League champions two years ago.

The Blues must beat Newcastle tomorrow night in the penultimate match of the campaign to prevent Manchester United from retaining their title.

Cech believes his side is more formidable now than when Jose Mourinho was in charge - even though they could end up conceding the Premier League to Sir Alex Ferguson's side.

'I would say the team is at least on the same level and maybe a little bit better than two seasons ago,' he told BBC Five Live's Sportsweek.

'This is because this year has been tough as we started from behind and had to chase United.

'That is difficult to do so the quality we have shown is at least the same.'

Cech has demanded Chelsea keep up the pressure on United by prevailing at St James Park and is confident his side have the resolve to take the title race down to the wire.

'Last week was a great week as we beat United and reached the Champions League final, which was a great achievement,' he said.

'We will do our best to keep our dream of winning the Premier League alive at Newcastle. If we win then the last game will be interesting.

'There is always a lot of pressure at Chelsea but we are used to this and have to make sure we keep winning games.

'You can see we have the same qualities as two years ago when we won the Premier League. We can handle the pressure and maybe win every game.'

Cech is delighted for boss Avram Grant, whose position remains under intense scrutiny despite guiding Chelsea to the Champions League final.

'It was an emotional week for Avram because he was under pressure,' Cech said.

'He must take great personal satisfaction from this as this is the first time Chelsea have reached the Champions League final.'

Cech has been pleased with his own form this season has not suffered despite suffering a succession of injuries.

'It's not been the best year for me because of injury but I'm still happy with the way I've played so far,' he said.

'I've kept my standard despite all the injuries and this is the most important thing for me.

'I've missed a lot of games and you don't like doing this as a professional.'