Petr Čech believes Chelsea FC can still end their season cradling silverware after Nicolas Anelka twice found the net to give the visitors a 2-0 UEFA Champions League round of 16 first-leg win at FC København.
Chelsea travelled to Denmark 12 points off the pace in the Premier League and fresh from being dumped out of the FA Cup by Everton FC, but Anelka responded to concerns about the team's attacking talents with a pair of excellently taken goals. The France forward joined Samuel Eto'o at the top of the competition scoring charts on seven strikes after being fielded alongside new signing Fernando Torres in a 4-4-2 formation, and Čech was encouraged by how the duo fared.
"[Anelka] took both of his chances well and that's what you're looking for when playing [the ball] in to a striker," the goalkeeper said. "I thought his understanding with Fernando was brilliant today. They created a lot of chances through very good movement. We found them from midfield and from the back and I think that work paid off."
Torres has come under intense scrutiny since his arrival in January yet looked increasingly threatening in Copenhagen, even if he failed to register his first goal since the move. For Čech, the former Liverpool FC attacker has done more than enough to suggest he will have a say in the Londoners' end-of-season push. "He's been playing very well," said the Chelsea No1. "
It was not to be today, but I hope he's saved his goals for the next stage."
Not that Carlo Ancelotti's men are taking the return leg on 16 March for granted. "We know we have to play another 90 minutes," added Čech, before allowing himself to look further ahead and explain that he feels this could be the year Chelsea claim their maiden European crown. "It could be. Who knows? We'll try to go again and try and win it. We took a first step today, but there's still a long way to go. Realistically, this is the only competition we can win and we'll give it a go."
Captain John Terry was similarly upbeat after the first-leg success on a freezing night at Parken Stadion. "All over the pitch, we showed the passion and desire that'll be needed to win the competition," he said. "It's a good lift. Winning obviously does that and you can see the buzz in the dressing room. But it's important now that we continue this run again. This could be the start."
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