Thibaut Courtois earned the nod for Chelsea’s first game of the season, but Jose Mourinho doesn’t expect Petr Cech to take this decision lightly.
Belgian international Courtois has been on the books of the Stamford Bridge club since 2011, but he has spent the past three seasons on loan at Atletico Madrid. During this time he has established himself as one of the best goalkeepers in world football, and such is his stock that Mourinho recalled him to his Blues squad for the current campaign.
Cech has been a mainstay of the Chelsea side for the past decade, but he made way for the 22-year-old for the trip to Burnley on Monday evening. Speaking before the 3-1 win in Lancashire, Mourinho explained why he made this decision, but also advised the former Genk man not to take his position in the starting XI for granted.
“Obviously a goalkeeper is not the kind of player you change match after match, you must give a bit of stability, but Thibaut has to know that having a goalkeeper of Petr’s level sitting on the bench, it means from him we want a high level of performance,” the Portuguese coach told Sky Sports. “But Petr is an amazing goalkeeper, but we have to think about the future of the club and I made the decision to give the goal to Courtois. But I’m so, so comfortable and feel so safe by having these two goalkeepers with us.”
Having a goalkeeper of Cech’s quality kicking his heels on the substitute bench is sure to lead to speculation over his future. Real Madrid, coached by former Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti, have already been linked with the 32-year-old, but Mourinho expects the former Rennes goalkeeper to stick around and fight for his future at Stamford Bridge.
“Petr is a fantastic professional,” he added. “He only knew my decision this morning. He fought hard for his place in pre-season. Obviously he’s ready to play. How does he behave? In a professional way, which is what we expect from him because he was always a fantastic professional. I hope that he’ll fight for his place and he will not sit in a comfortable chair and accept the position. He’s a winner and he’s a fighter and he will fight for his place.”