The Chelsea goalkeeper held outgoing manager Rafa Benitez in high esteem but is already talking up Jose Mourinho's return to London, despite no official word of his hiring.ST. LOUIS -- Jose Mourinho has not been named Chelsea's next manager just yet, but the way Petr Cech is talking, it seems like a matter of time before an announcement comes down.
Following Chelsea's 4-3 loss to Manchester City in a friendly at Busch Stadium, Cech was excited at the prospects of Mourinho's return to Stamford Bridge, where he guided Chelsea from 2004-2007. The veteran goalkeeper was speaking as if Mourinho has already been brought back despite an ugly initial exit from the club almost six years ago.
"In football you never say never. Anything can happen, and he's a great manager. I think that everybody remembers how successful we were with him as a manager so if he can reproduce that again it would be fantastic," Cech said. "Let's see. I think every manager might change slightly during the years, because they are more experienced, they worked with more people, different teams. He might come with a slightly different way as he was before. We don't know. It will be great to see him back anyway, and we will see if he can reproduce the same magic as we had in 2004, 2005, 2006."
Mourinho brought Chelsea to new heights in his time on the sidelines, ending a half-century league title drought and laying the foundation for the repeated success that Chelsea has had since his departure.
"I think the footprint he made in the whole English football, the success he brought to the club, he was the manager after 50 years that brought the Premier League (title) to the club," Cech said. "I'd say a new era began at the time. This is why I think especially for the media it was very entertaining to have him in England, and especially for the media, they are most excited of him coming back."
Cech added that Chelsea now is a much different club than when Mourinho was presiding over things and that the limitless expectations on a second go-around in London would not be too much to handle for the outgoing Real Madrid boss or Chelsea.
"It's totally different," Cech said. "Sometimes to compare two years in football is impossible and it's been longer than that. Having won two European cups, an FA Cup and a double... he will find a team that is really interesting to come to. At a big club you always have the same expectations, no matter who is the manager no matter who is the player and you always want to win everything. I don't think the pressure will be different anytime else."
Cech also held high praise for Rafa Benitez, who will manage his final Chelsea match Saturday when the Blues take on Manchester City again in another friendly. Benitez was unavailable to reporters throughout the first leg of Chelsea's U.S. tour as speculation surrounding his next move continues to swirl.
"I think he's done a very good job, having won the European cup, we qualified for the Champions League in the end, and I think this was the aim when we changed the manager," Cech said. "He tried to do the best that he could. He worked hard from day one, tried to do the best for the club for us and in the end he's leaving with a European trophy, which is great for him."