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Cech: We can handle the pressure

ESPN staff
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Petr Cech has made some key saves to help keep Chelsea's title challenge on track © PA Photos
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Petr Cech claims Chelsea are best placed to handle the title-race pressure because they have the experience of battling for the Premier League crown.

His side head into the weekend fixtures with a seven-point advantage over Liverpool and Arsenal, with a nine-point lead over Manchester City, but all of the chasing teams have games in hand.

Jose Mourinho, the Chelsea manager, has repeatedly insisted his team are outsiders and focused primarily on securing a top-four finish but goalkeeper Cech has gone off-message.

"In the past, it's fair to say we've not let leads slip," he is quoted as saying in the Daily Mirror. "Of course, this is a different team and a different scenario, a different season, so it is hard to compare. But we know how to play under pressure until the last game.

"In recent years, we have been in these situations, so if we can do it again, that is what we will try to do. If you're top, you have to keep winning to stay top. If you're second, you need to keep winning to have a chance and you don't have things in your hands. So the pressure is the same.

"If you have a point's difference, are in second and chasing and the team top doesn't drop any points, it is tough. The pressure is the same whether you are first, second or third. Everyone keeps trying to do that. What you need - and what we have - is the approach of going game by game.

"A lot of people tend to watch the table too much when you come to the end of the season and if you keep watching the table and every other results you lose the focus on what you do. We don't do that.

"I don't have any power to change the game Arsenal will play this week or what City will do in their games in hand. I concentrate on what I can do help this team win the games we have; and that's why we have always had good ends of the season because we focus on ourselves."

Chelsea have a relatively comfortable run-in compared to those of their rivals, starting with an away game against Aston Villa on Saturday, despite having to face Arsenal at Stamford Bridge and Liverpool at Anfield.

But Cech insisted there was no complacency. "We know that people are looking at our run-in and saying it's easier but nothing in the Premier League is easy," he said.

"What counts is that we go game by game. My next game is Villa away [on Saturday]. It's a difficult place to go and we want to win there again."

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