Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has claimed Petr Cech remains a crucial player in his squad, even though the veteran goalkeeper has fallen out of favour in his pecking order since Thibaut Courtois' return to the west London club in the summer.
The Czech international has only made one Premier League appearance this season, to replace first-choice Courtois after the Belgium star sustained a head injury during the victory over Arsenal on 5 October. And Cech's only starting appearances came in two Capital One Cup games and two Champions League games alongside a number of fringe players.
"The most important thing is what he brings to the team on the pitch, which is top quality," Mourinho said to Yahoo Sport.
"When Courtois was injured against Arsenal and Petr Cech comes to play on minute 20, I was so calm. I wasn't worried about a change of goalkeeper. So when you have on the bench a super goalkeeper like Petr Cech this is the most important thing.
Recent reports claimed the 32-year-old keeper was considering putting an end to his time on the sidelines by forcing a January move away from Stamford Bridge – with both Arsenal and Roma monitoring the situation.
However, Cech's agent Viktor Kolar confirmed last week that the keeper is likely to stay at Stamford Bridge until the end of the current campaign, while Mourinho has claimed he will try to reward him with further appearances in the future.
"Obviously he wants to play, which is why sometimes I make him play. I have to feed the natural ambition of somebody who feels he is a top goalkeeper," he said.
"I have to feed that ambition to keep him... I'm not saying happy happy, because to be happy a player must play every game... but at least to make him feel that we like him, we respect him and we need him."
With a spot at the top of Champions League Group G guaranteed, Mourinho is expected to give Cech the number one role in the final group game against Sporting Lisbon on Wednesday 10 December.