Cech demands Chelsea riposte against Fulham after FA Cup disappointment

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Cech: Benitez has left a mark on the history of Chelsea
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Cech: Benitez has left a mark on the history of Chelsea

Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech has challenged his teammates to remedy their FA Cup semifinal anguish by beating Fulham and boosting the club's bid for Champions League qualification.

The Blues were denied a place in the competition's showpiece after losing 2-1 to Manchester City at Wembley on Sunday, and now return to Premier League action against the Cottagers with a top-four finish still their primary objective.

Rafael Benitez's side will leapfrog Arsenal back into third should it prevail in the west London derby at Craven Cottage, and Cech has underlined the importance of shaking off any lingering cup hangover prior to kickoff.

"For us, the disappointment of losing the semifinal against City will be a factor, and we need to make sure we are over that," Cech told the club's official website. "It's a derby game, a huge game anyway, and if they win they know they are safe from relegation and can then play without pressure. It's a tough fixture for us, it always has been.

"They often raise their game at Craven Cottage, especially against us. We never find it easy to play there, but the pressure is on us now and we need to win our games to make it easier to qualify for the Champions League."

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