Despite Gary Cahill’s fine form he knows he is by no means guaranteed a starting berth for tomorrow’s game against West Bromwich Albion, such is the quality we possess at the back. The 27-year-old was part of the defence that kept a clean sheet on Wednesday evening, and with three goals going in at the other end, it was a perfect night for the Blues. Understandably, Cahill would rather be on the pitch than the substitutes’ bench but he appreciates the team must always come first.
‘We are fortunate enough to have a big squad here and you saw that last season when we had so many fixtures. I think we understand as a squad there are great players that miss out and are sometimes rotated but as long as it is rotation then obviously that’s great,’ Cahill said.
‘We put ourselves first for the team but we want to be involved with the team and playing a big part. None of the players are any different, but because of the amount of fixtures we have – against City and Arsenal we switched almost the whole team around – the strength is good and players are getting game time. As long as that happens then there are players chomping at the bit which is always healthy.’
Wednesday night’s victory against Schalke was the fifth clean sheet we have managed in the last six games the England centre-back has started. In fact, we’ve conceded goals in just three of the 11 matches Cahill has been involved in so far this campaign.
‘Of course you want to be out there more times than not, but I was glad to be back out there playing on Wednesday and to get a clean sheet makes it even more pleasing. That’s what we are out there for, to defend and then give the ball to players who can create opportunities.’
One player who can create and take opportunities is Samuel Eto’o, and Cahill thinks the Cameroonian’s brace on Wednesday night – including his first when he pressured Schalke’s keeper Timo Hildebrand into a mistake – was just reward for his industry on and off the pitch, a fact made all the more impressive because of the illustrious career he has already enjoyed.
‘Samuel worked hard for the team and got his two goals. He took his second one brilliantly, while I thought the first one sparked us into life – he set the tempo by working hard to close the goalkeeper down, and sometimes a bit of hard work can pay off.
‘Samuel’s been good to have around, the bunch of lads we have are easy to get on with so he’s not struggled in that respect,’ Cahill remarked. ‘Now he’s found his feet he’s getting goal for us and that’s pleasing.
‘In his career he’s got nothing to prove but as a player you’re always proving to yourself. He’s come to the Premier League for the first time and he obviously wants to perform like he has done over the years. He’s been on this stage many times so it’s great to have him in the squad.’
It’s back to domestic action tomorrow at Stamford Bridge. After our last league outing ended in defeat Cahill stressed that the players are desperate to get three points on the board before leaders Arsenal travel to Old Trafford on Sunday.
‘I see every team in this league as a threat; there are definitely no easy games. West Brom is another game that we need to be fully focused on, we don’t want another Newcastle. We are hoping that was just a blip and we can get back to winning ways.’