Crystal Palace defender Gary Cahill has revealed why it went wrong for him in his last season at Chelsea, and why he chose a move to Selhurst Park amid interest from Arsenal.
Cahill spent seven-and-a-half years at Stamford Bridge following a move from Bolton in January 2012, winning everything there is to win with the Blues.
He had an incredibly successful time in West London, playing a key role in the 2014/15 and 2016/17 Premier League title wins under Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte respectively, and was named club captain in 2017.
But after Conte left at the end of the 2017/18 season, Maurizio Sarri joined as manager and Cahill only went on to make two Premier League appearances the following season.
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And Cahill says his time away at the World Cup with England in the summer of 2018 was probably the reason why it did not work out with Sarri.
“We went to the 2018 World Cup, got to the semi-finals, so I missed pre-season, which I think was massive looking back now,” Cahill told the Mail.
“[Sarri] was very much into his tactics, probably too much, and I missed all of that.
“I was on the back foot. To be brutally honest, halfway through the season, the relationship was gone. I don’t think that was ever going to be recovered.
“It’s difficult to have respect for some of the things he did. But I have a lot of respect for the club, and for the players. As a big figure then, as captain, to go about things totally the wrong way, which I easily could have done, it’s not the way to do it.
“Was that easy? No. Was that one of the most mentally toughest things to deal with? Especially because it went on for so long? 100%.
“The maddest things is when you don’t play for whatever reason – if you’re out of form, or if you had a few bad games and…