Cahill: Life's like a whirlwind at Chelsea, but I'd settle for a few more 1-0 victories
23:23 GMT, 9 November 2012
As Gary Cahill paused momentarily for breath in Chelsea's thrilling 3-2 win over Shakhtar Donestk on Wednesday night he thought: 'Wow! They're coming at us and we're going at them.'
'For the neutral it was great to watch,' says the Chelsea and England defender with a smile, 'but I'd rather not have that.'
Cahill's yearning for the simple satisfaction of a straightforward 1-0 win is understandable.
Like a whirlwind: Gary Cahill (left) wants Chelsea to be more solid at the back after recording six clean sheets in 18 games
Preparing: Cahill was in training on Friday ahead of Liverpool's visit
Chelsea have managed it only once this season, against Stoke City, one of only six clean sheets they have kept in 18 games.
Manager Robert Di Matteo admits that he feels tense watching Chelsea's increasingly open style of play, so how must Cahill feel when he sees fellow centre half David Luiz charging up the pitch
'There are times when you look and things might not be as tight, or you're feeling a bit more exposed than normal,' he says, tactfully.
'We have some defensive midfielders who sit in there, which really helps.
'But sometimes when you do play so attacking, against an attacking team, you are going to get hurt.
'That's probably where we need to be a bit more disciplined, but without taking anything away from our attacking players because their first thought is to go forward and try to score and hurt teams.
'It's hard to get that balance. With the players we've got, if we were winning 1-0 would people be happy with that Or are they happy with the way we're playing this season It's entertaining.'
Few could argue with that. Since his 7million move to the capital last January, Cahill has entered what he calls a 'whirlwind' – otherwise known as life at Chelsea FC.
The 26-year-old has had to adapt to an existence where finishing sixth in the Barclays Premier League 'wasn't good enough', every game is 'huge' and the expectation is 'massive'.
That is just on the pitch; never mind the apparently never-ending sequence of events unfolding off it.
Crazy: It took Victor Moses' last-ditch goal to seal victory for Chelsea over Shakhtar
Tough work: Chelsea were lost their lead on Wednesday and had to battle hard for the victory
CHELSEA v LIVERPOOL
Kick-off: 4pm Sunday.
TV: LIVE on Sky Sports 1.
Referee: Howard Webb.
But any suggestion that Cahill was hoping for a sleepy life in Surrey is quickly dispelled.
The theme that comes through after he meets members of the armed forces at the club's Cobham training base (above) is that this is where he wants to be: in the thick of it, trying to cement his place for club and country and win trophies.
He has been at Chelsea less than a year, but is already the proud owner of Champions League and FA Cup medals.
'It could have been very different,' he admits, had he chosen Tottenham, or if Arsenal had agreed a fee with Bolton.
As the January transfer window neared its conclusion, Cahill had to make a quick decision and opted for Stamford Bridge.
He says: 'Being a northern lad and coming down here I thought I might be a bit lost, but I've enjoyed it. My family have settled well.
'It's a short career so you should go where you need to go. At the time I moved I was playing in the Premier League week-in, week-out, so the next step was to go somewhere where you're going to try to win things.
Opportunities: With John Terry retiring from international football, Gary Cahill could make the centre back position his own
BRIDGE OF PROFITS
Chelsea have announced profits of 1.4million for last year – the first time they have made money in the Roman Abramovich era.
Success in the Champions League has seen turnover increase by 30m to 225m.
A statement said: 'The 1.4m profit contrasts with a loss of 67.7m in the previous financial year and puts the club in a strong position to comply with UEFA financial fair play criteria.' LAURA WILLIAMSON
'The risk was that there were great players here – you've got David Luiz, who was captain of Brazil not long ago, and JT (John Terry) who has been captain for England and Chelsea for years and years. So you're not going to walk straight in.
'But you've got to take that risk. It's not very often you get the chance to come to a big club and try to win things.'
Cahill has expressed frustration this season about Di Matteo's preference for rotation but he insisted on Friday that it is necessary to keep the squad fresh.
Terry's ankle injury and fourmatch suspension might have something to do with Cahill's change of heart.
His absence means Di Matteo has selected Cahill and Luiz more than any other defensive partnership.
Cahill, though, says he finds himself in a strange situation when it comes to Terry.
The former England captain's withdrawal from international duty has boosted Cahill's chances of starting for his country, yet it could potentially hinder the younger man's chances of playing regularly at club level.
'It is strange,' admits Cahill, 26. 'It's not like JT has come out of the England frame just as I'm getting in – I've been in for the last couple of years.
'But it's a chance for me because you're missing a fantastic player like JT in the England set-up, an established leader who, when available, will always play.
Eyes on Roberto: Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo has said he will continue to rotate his centre backs, including David Luiz, Cahill and Terry
'I spoke to him about it. He supports me and I think he wishes me well with England.'
With 'established leaders' such as Terry and Rio Ferdinand no longer in Roy Hodgson's thinking, it is clear Cahill sees this as the perfect opportunity.
'England have always been blessed with good centre backs,' adds Cahill. 'It's been difficult to get in, but playing here at Chelsea, and getting opportunities, that's given me a chance.
'It's all up in the air again now, isn't it But it's an opportunity. The door's open there for someone to come in and bed down a position.'
Before England's friendly against Sweden on Wednesday, however, Liverpool come calling at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
London calling: Luis Suarez and Liverpool travel to Stamford Bridge on Sunday
Chelsea, like all 20 Premier League clubs this weekend, will wear poppies on their shirts, which will then be auctioned off to raise money for the Royal British Legion.
Cahill smiles as he admits he might have to explain the significance of the red flowers to some of his foreign team-mates, but seems sincere as he discusses the importance of marking Remembrance Sunday after meeting servicemen and women at Cobham.
'Some are based here for the next two or three years and some are going off, March until December,' he says.
'They come back for Christmas. It's real life. It must be crazy. I can't imagine what that would be like. They deserve a lot of respect.'
Suddenly Chelsea's frailties do not seem so serious after all. Chelsea FC will mark Remembrance Sunday by supporting the Royal British Legion's Poppy Appeal.
Gary and his team-mates will be donating their match shirts, embroidered with the Poppy, to raise funds for the charity. To find out more and how to bid visit www.chelseafc.com on Sunday.