The Blues currently sit outside the Champions League qualification places in fifth place with five points separating them from Tottenham in fourth, with their record of nine successive seasons in Europe’s leading club competition is in danger of coming to an end.
They were unable to make a dent in Spurs’ five point advantage as the pair played out a 0-0 stalemate at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, while Newcastle pulled level with Roberto di Matteo’s side in fifth place thanks to their 3-1 win over West Brom on Sunday.
With just eight games remaining, Cech believes that it is acceptable for Chelsea to miss out on the league title as they go about rebuilding their squad, but remains adamant that failure to land a top four spot is unacceptable.
“It is a year lost in the progression of the club,” he told reporters. "For a big club, you can accept that the team does not win the league because it is in transition.”
“But you can't afford to slip out of the Champions League spots, because the big teams are about the Champions League.”
Cech kept his 16th clean sheet of the season as Spurs squandered a series of chances to claim three points on Saturday to help keep his side in the hunt for a top four spot.
The 29-year-old drew parallels between Chelsea’s plight and Liverpool, who last played in the Champions League back in 2009, although the Czech Republic keeper was keen to point out that Chelsea are more than capable of bouncing back straight away if they do miss out.
“Liverpool had so many problems within the club, not really on the pitch, so that is why they kind of lost some time. But this club has the structure,” he commented.
“I believe that one season will make a difference, because it will slow down all the process of being a Champions League club and hunting for trophies, but it will not be the end of Chelsea, because I believe that we will come back.”
The west London club could still qualify for the Champions League if they finish outside of the top four by virtue of winning the competition this year, with a winnable tie against Benfica in the quarter finals.
However Cech maintains that their final league position remains a priority.
“The aim is never just to forget about the position in the league, and win the Champion League,” he said.
“It would be great to do that, but the league and finishing in the top four is important for the club as well.”
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