Chelsea legend Petr Cech admits it will be ‘really difficult’ for Thomas Tuchel’s side to retain the Champions League, although he was buoyed by the club’s opening group-stage victory.
Chelsea won Europe’s biggest football competition for the second time back in May, beating Premier League champions Manchester City 1-0 in the final.
The Blues began their defence with a narrow victory over Zenit St Petersburg on Tuesday night, with club-record signing Romelu Lukaku breaking down the Russian outfit with his first European goal for Chelsea.
Chelsea’s form since Tuchel replaced Frank Lampard as manager and the club’s impressive summer transfer window has given fans genuine belief the team can challenge for the Premier League this season and perhaps even retain the Champions League.
Real Madrid became the first side to retain the European crown in the Champions League era in 2017, and Cech admits it will be ‘difficult’ for Chelsea to emulate the Spanish giants.
‘It is really difficult to retain the Champions League because you need an element of everything going right and you need to be lucky as well,’ the legendary goalkeeper and current technical and performance advisor told Chelsea’s official website.
‘For Real Madrid to win it three times in a row, that was absolutely exceptional and you have to really take your hat off to a team for doing that because it’s a title that is really so hard to retain.
‘When you come in as a champions, everybody has extra pressure and that adds to the complexity of the whole thing. You need everything to go right, no unlucky games or bad decisions.
‘You are playing the best teams in Europe throughout the competition and everybody has the same motivation and quality to go through.
‘That is what it makes it so unique and so difficult but we started well with a good win against a tough opponent in Zenit St Petersburg so now we keep building from here.’
Chelsea have enjoyed a bright start to the new season, beating London rivals Crystal Palace and Arsenal and drawing to Liverpool at Anfield despite going down to ten men before half-time.
The European champions then beat Aston Villa before edging out Zenit on Tuesday thanks to Lukaku’s header from Cesar Azpilicueta’s fine cross.