Chelsea goalkeeper coach Christophe Lollichon admits veteran custodian Petr Cech is finding his back-up role at Stamford Bridge difficult to take, but says the current situation is only to be expected while the Blues try to cater for the needs of two of the world's best stoppers.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with French publication RMC Sport, the mysterious member of Jose Mourinho's backroom staff conceded that the 32-year-old is still getting used to his watching brief while Thibaut Courtois continues to excel between the sticks this season.
Cech has been Chelsea's undisputed No.1 for the past decade since joining from Ligue 1 outfit Rennes in a £7 million deal in 2004, making 477 senior appearances over the course of 10 seasons with the Premier League giants.
However, he was displaced by Courtois following his return from Atletico Madrid last summer, the Belgium international rewarded for his fine form at the Vicente Calderon over the past three years with a place in Mourinho's starting line-up from the beginning of 2014/15.
Cech has featured in the Capital One Cup and FA Cup, made brief cameos in the Champions League and deputised for the 22-year-old when he was injured, making a total of 13 appearances for Chelsea so far this term.
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However, the current understudy is still struggling with the unfamiliar bit-part role, although he's shown no signs of frustration and continues to handle the situation with the utmost dignity.
"Since the start of the season, we've known that we have two of the three or four best goalkeepers in the world," explained Lollichon. "Whether it's one or the other who plays, it doesn't change anything. They are two big goalkeepers both in terms of size and talent.
"Of course it's difficult for Cech, who has been first-choice for 14 years in the clubs he's been at and who has been voted the Premier League's best goalkeeper several times, to be passed by a 22-year-old kid.
"He's a great pro who doesn't complain to the press, and who prepares himself as if he were going to play the next match."
With three Premier League titles, four FA Cups, three League Cups, plus a Champions League winners medal and Europa League triumph to his name, there's no doubting the important contribution that Cech has made during his time in west London.
But, with Mourinho now looking towards the long-term future it seems that the Czech Republic international will struggle to ever regain a regular place in the side, and might be forced to consider leaving to secure more frequent football.
There'll certainly be a host of clubs queuing up for Cech's signature, as he's proved when playing this season he's still capable of turning in world-class performances, and will probably be able to maintain his current level for a number of years yet.
Chelsea fans: Where do you think Petr Cech will end up going? Will Jose Mourinho manage to appease the veteran goalkeeper and keep him happy at Stamford Bridge for the foreseeable future? Share your thoughts below…
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