GOALKEEPER Petr Cech wants to banish the memory of Chelsea's embarrassing defence of their Champions League crown by lifting the Europa League.

Chelsea suffered the humiliation of becoming the first defending champions in the Champions League era to be knocked out of the competition at the initial group stage.

Disgruntled owner Roman Abramovich axed Roberto Di Matteo just hours after a defeat to Juventus in November left them on the verge of exiting the tournament.

His replacement, the unpopular Rafa Benitez, could not prevent the inevitable and the Blues had  to settle for a place in the Europa League in the second-half of the campaign.

Cech has this week defended the status of Europe's secondary club competition and reckons delivering a second European trophy in two years will go some way to answering their critics.

He said: “We were really disappointed with our campaign in the Champions League. We said the best way to forget about it is to have a go and try and go as far as we can in the Europa League.

“It’s a prestigious competition for many countries and many teams. This club has never won it so it’d be nice to add it to the trophy room.”

Winning the Champions League trophy in such dramatic fashion in Munich last May ranks as Cech's proudest achievement in football.

He describes it as a 'fantastic story' and wants to write another chapter to the tale in Amsterdam on Wednesday night when the Blues take on Benfica for the Europa League title.
 
“It is the highlight of my career so far,” said Cech. “Amid all the success we’ve had with the club, it was special, particularly because we had lost the final before. You don’t often get a second chance but we got that second chance.

“It was a fantastic story and I think it was meant to be, but winning back-to-back European trophies would be a great story too. It is more or less they same circumstances as well with having to change the manager during the season, so hopefully it’ll be the same ending.”

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