Jose Mourinho’s judgement was again vindicated last night when he decided to bring back Thibaut Courtois between the posts in place of veteran Petr Cech for the last 16 Champions League match against PSG.
The 22-year-old Belgian stopper proved his worth by making a string of superb saves to save Chelsea, who ended up coming away with a positive 1-1 draw – and a vital away goal that leaves them favourites to progress to the quarter-finals.
Cech, meanwhile, has been back in the team recently and once again underlined his worth after delivering a superb performance in the 1-0 win over Everton last week. Publicly Mourinho claimed Courtois’ absence was due to a precaution with a hand knock but realistically it had as much to do with a dip in form from the young ‘keeper.
Mourinho had remained tight-lipped on who would get the nod for last night’s match but, as he has in all his biggest games this season, opted for Courtois over Cech.
The writing is clearly on the wall for Cech, who has stated he will consider his options at the end of the season if he is not playing regular football.
The 32-year-old still has plenty to offer but Courtois is the future and has already shown he is one of the very best around who can perform at the highest level.
Nonetheless, it is still a tough job for Mourinho to keep both his ‘keepers happy, with captain John Terry saying he does not envy his boss.
Terry said: “Thibaut is different class. It’s unlucky for Big Pete because he made two unbelievable saves from Romelu Lukaku against Everton last week.
“But he has been unbelievably professional around the club this season. I’ve seen a lot of players in my time throw their toys out of the pram. But he’s been different class, and that’s been important.
“The manager stresses the importance of the team coming first. They’re both there for the whole squad. Both of them have been excellent.
“We’ve got the two best goalkeepers in the world in my opinion both fighting for one place. It’s difficult. You can’t keep them both happy. The manager manages to do it, I don’t know how.
“Obviously they both want to play all the time. The two of them are at the top of their games. Rotating them is a tough job. I’d rather that was the manager’s decision.”