• Premier League

Cech hails Benitez for shoring up Chelsea defence

ESPN staff
December 28, 2012
Petr Cech says Chelsea were conceding too many goals © Getty Images

Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech has praised his side's defensive improvement after the Blues kept consecutive Premier League cleansheets for the first time in more than a year.

The 8-0 rout of Aston Villa on Saturday and a 1-0 win over Norwich on Wednesday provided a breakthrough for Chelsea's defence after an attacking focus under Roberto Di Matteo and Andre Villas-Boas exposed them at the back.

But Cech believes a more rigid structure introduced by Rafa Benitez has made Chelsea difficult to breakdown.

"We were conceding too many goals, playing really open," Cech said. "Suddenly, we are defending as a team much better - that is the key. Now we are back to our ways when we are difficult to score against.

"I think we need the whole team to defend. We have really attacking-minded players. Sometimes we were not making the right choices in terms of defensive transitions and that is what has improved. We are passing more and organising."

Benitez has led Chelsea to six wins from their last seven matches and Cech is confident in the Spaniard's changes so far.

"He came with slightly different ideas," he said. "It's working so far, and hopefully it will continue. Obviously we have closed the gap on City. This is another positive for us, to keep getting points to get as close as we can to Man United and City."

One particularly influential change has been the move of David Luiz into the midfield with the Brazilian proving effective in attack and defence.

"He's very good on the ball and, as well, he is a central defender so you can see how well he defends the space and can be a shield at the back four and when he gets the ball he can be very creative," Cech said.

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