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Petr Čech hopes 2010 will be the year for Group D toppers Chelsea FC, with the Czech goalkeeper convinced his side have "deserved so many times" to win the UEFA Champions League.
Another Čech clean sheet earned Carlo Ancelotti's side a 1-0 win at FC Porto to ensure the Blues qualified as winners of the section, taking their place in the first knockout round for the seventh year running. In the past six campaigns, only in 2005/06 did they fail to reach the semi-finals while two seasons ago Čech was in goal in the Luzhniki Stadium as Chelsea lost the final to fellow English club Manchester United FC on penalties. "We hope every year that it's finally going to be the year that we win the trophy because over the years we've deserved so many times to get our hands on it," he told uefa.com. "We hope that this year's going to be the year."
Should Chelsea go on keeping clean sheets – the one at the Estádio do Dragão was their seventh in eight games in all competitions – then no club on the continent will fancy squaring up to them. Čech knows a thing or two about keeping his goal intact having gone a then-record 1,025 league minutes without conceding in Chelsea's 2004/05 title-winning campaign. So how does he do it? "The secret of so many clean sheets is that there is no secret," the 27-year-old answered cryptically.
Čech is fortunate that he can bank on the likes of centre-half Ricardo Carvalho, who hails the role played by former AC Milan coach Ancelotti. "He's added something to our team," the Portuguese defender explained to uefa.com, "but we have to bear in mind that he inherited a very strong group of players. He likes the tactical aspects of the game and we have tactical sessions almost every day in training and that allows us to correct any mistakes we're making."
Already-qualified Porto have to content themselves with second place in the section, yet two narrow defeats by Chelsea have left midfielder Fernando Belluschi with the impression that the Portuguese champions are capable of taking on Europe's big guns. He told uefa.com: "The outcome of this match could have been different had my first-half shot gone in instead of hitting the bar, but it wasn't to be. I think we have what it takes to succeed in this competition."
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