Frank Lampard insists the decision to include Petr Cech in Chelsea’s Premier League squad more than a year after his retirement is based on common sense, not romance.
Cech’s inclusion was confirmed as Lampard relished the relief of a clean sheet against Sevilla in the Champions League.
It was his first scoreless draw since taking office at Stamford Bridge and the perfect response to criticism of his defensive unit and goalkeepers this season.
Frank Lampard has launched a shock appeal to name ex-goalkeeper Petr Cech to Chelsea squad
The former Chelsea keeper returned to Stamford Bridge in 2019 in an off-pitch role
But Lampard has called on his former Blues teammate, with whom he is pictured celebrating the Champions League victory in 2012, to serve as a goal cover in an emergency.
“It’s definitely not for romance,” Lampard said, when asked about Cech.
“Pete has been training with the goalies for a while. He is very fit and still relatively young. Pete is done playing when he probably could have gone on and taken on his role at Chelsea, which he does very well.
“We had a place in the squad and this year is unlike any other because of Covid and what it could do for selection and isolation. So it was easy. Pete will always do his job but he’s there if we need him.
“Whether we see it or not, I’m not so sure. It depends on how the season unfolds with Covid and the isolations. I certainly felt it was a no-brainer to have Pete on the squad for that reason and he can only help the goalies we have. He is one of the best in the world in modern times.
The 38-year-old is keeping fit and working with the club’s goalkeepers, including summer arrival Edouard Mendy (left) whom he is seen advising during a training session
Cech initially left Chelsea as a goalkeeper at the end of the 2014-15 season, winning the title.
“If we’re in a crisis, we couldn’t ask for anything better than to have Petr Cech around. I did not expect it, but no one expected what we have seen in the last six or seven months in the world.
Cech is a Chelsea legend and the hero of their Champions League triumph in 2012. He retired in May 2019 and returned to Stamford Bridge from Arsenal to take on a technical performance adviser role.
At 38, he’s eight months younger than Willy Caballero who was on the bench against Sevilla, and the idea of his inclusion as an emergency cover in the Premier League squad was first raised before the arrival of Edouard Mendy for 22 million pounds sterling from Rennes in September.
The theory gained strength when Ukraine was forced to put a 45-year-old coach on the bench in a friendly against France after three goalkeepers were suddenly excluded by the coronavirus.
Chelsea produced a strong defensive performance on Tuesday night in the Champions League, with Mendy making a save in a 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge against Sevilla.
Veteran defender Thiago Silva played for the Blues who were criticized defensively
Mendy was back on goal against Sevilla after an injury that ruled him out of Saturday’s 3-3 draw against Southampton, and he looked confident and assured. Thiago Silva’s return to center defense has also helped Chelsea appear more solid at the back.
“Thiago showed his experience and his qualities,” said Lampard. “Mendy probably has a save to make and he does it, and he was good with his feet.
“It was a very good organized defensive performance against a very good team and I’m happy with it. It feels good, it’s something you are always looking for.
“When you play at the level of the Champions League, you have a lot of work on the defensive side. We cannot complain about the lack of targets. We have already scored a lot of goals in the Premier League. We will score goals. The white sheet is the big bonus of the night.