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.”