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Cech battles ‘cold feet’ to make winning return with Chelsea reserves

Petr Cech returned to the pitch 18 months after retiring to help Chelsea’s reserve team beat Tottenh

Petr Cech returned to the pitch 18 months after retiring to help Chelsea’s reserve team beat Tottenham’s under-23 side on Monday despite conceding two early goals and grappling with nerves.

Chelsea’s second string returned to the top of Premier League 2 after coming back from 2-0 down on 17 minutes to win 3-2 with three second-half goals.

“For the first 20 minutes, I struggled to find the automatic movements I had been used to,” the 38-year-old goalkeeper said in an interview mediated by his Czech agent Sport Invest.

“But I adjusted to the pace of the game after 20 minutes and then I felt OK,” added Cech, who has worked as Chelsea’s technical director since his original retirement from top-level football in May 2019.

Cech was registered in the Blues’ Premier League squad in October as a precaution in case coronavirus restrictions hit coach Frank Lampard’s goalkeeping options.

“The game fulfilled its goal because this is exactly what I needed in case there is an emergency and I have to play in the Premiership,” said Cech.

“It put me back on track as I could get back to the rhythm of the competition.

“I enjoyed the second half because I started to read the game like I used to and I felt well.”

Cech, who kept a record 202 clean sheets in his 15 Premier League seasons with Chelsea and Arsenal, admitted he was nervous before the game.

“I have been working hard for a few months, but I haven’t played a game for 18 months so I was naturally nervous before the game,” said Cech, who had managed a single training session with the team on Sunday.

“You lose the rhythm and you don’t know what to expect from yourself. Even though I knew I was ready, I got cold feet.”

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