Cech hits back at ‘banter’ from Bayer Leverkusen
Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech has questioned the values of Bayer Leverkusen after the German club mocked his performance in the 2-0 defeat to Manchester City.
Unai Emery, who replaced long-serving manager Arsene Wenger, signed Bernd Leno from Leverkusen for a reported £19.2m, but Cech was preferred in goal for their Premier League opener against the defending champions on Sunday.
Emery has encouraged his Arsenal team to play out from the back since his arrival.
A video of Cech, 36, almost scoring an own goal as he attempted a pass across the face of his own goal started circulating on Twitter – with Leverkusen’s English account getting involved.
“We might know a guy…” they replied to one Tweet highlighting Cech’s error, which was followed by a 29-second video of Leno playing out from the back in a game for the German side, with the caption: “In case you were all wondering how to play out from the back…”
The message was retweeted over 1,750 times, but Cech took to Twitter to post a reply on Monday evening, criticising the “professionalism” of the post.
“@Arsenal we share important values which make us a big club not only on the football side . Fair competition, professionalism and sportsmanship are the biggest ones you teach young footballers and it’s sad to see when other clubs don’t share the same values. @bayer04–en ,” he wrote.
Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva struck in each half as reigning Premier League champions Manchester City ruined Emery’s welcome party.
Speaking after the game Cech, who was named captain, urged fans to give the team time to adapt to the new approach and said he feels adept at helping the team to build attacks from the back.
“I think that in a way if you want to dominate the game through possession you need to use every player,” he said.
“You can see at this level that one-v-one is difficult to play so you need to use the goalkeeper as a spare man every time you can – that is the role of the goalkeeper.
“If you play for a team who is happy to play a long-ball and a completely different way then the keeper plays a different way – but for what we want to do I think it is going to be important.”
Leverkusen’s account replied to Cech’s tweet soon after – saying their original “joke” had been taken more personally than it should have been.
It read: “Hi Petr. It seems our joke about wanting to see Leno, our former player, in action has been taken a bit more harshly/personally than intended. It was only a bit of banter. We’re all for the values you’ve stated and wish you and your big club all the best. Nice 1v1 save on Aguero!”
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