Chelsea players back Cudicini

Chelsea players have confidence in Carlo Cudicini behind them as the Italian covers for injured first-choice goalkeeper Petr Cech.

Chelsea's Italian stopper has come out of mothballs to take on the hardest job in football - deputising for injured Cech.

Cudicini, 34, played his first Champions League game in almost a year on Tuesday, helping the Blues hang on to a point in a hard-earned draw away to German side Schalke.

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Blues midfielder Frank Lampard said: "He is basically a first-team goalkeeper. It is only because of the way Petr Cech has played in the last few years that Carlo has not been there.

"He's always been the professional that he is and when he comes on he always performs.

"He is one of the best keepers in the league, forgetting the fact he is our second keeper. It's very impressive. Even as a goalkeeper, match-play always keeps you that little bit sharper.

"Whenever Carlo comes in, even though he has not played for a long time, he always looks just as sharp as anyone."

Blues left-back Wayne Bridge also hailed Cudicini's ability to be ready for every occasion.

Bridge said: "I didn't think about the change of goalkeeper. Carlo is a quality keeper and so is Petr.

"For a club to have two keepers like that, three with Hilario, is great for the club.

"It's probably not ideal for Carlo but he dealt with it well."

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