Gary Cahill has lifted the lid on his relationship with former Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri, admitting it is ‘difficult’ to have ‘respect’ for the Italian.
Despite being the club captain, Cahill was restricted to just 22 minutes of Premier League football in his final season at Chelsea, Maurizio Sarri preferring to utilise the likes of Antonio Rudiger and David Luiz in defence.
His lack of action saw the veteran defender opt for pastures new, joining Crystal Palace last summer, and speaking about his final season at Stamford Bridge, he blamed his lack of a pre-season with the Italian as a ‘massive’ blow to his chances.
“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.
“He (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.”
Cahill said his lack of opportunities under the Italian was ‘one of the mentally toughest things’ he has had to deal with in his career, saying he has a lack of respect for the now-Juventus boss.
“It’s difficult to have respect for some of the things he did,” he continued.
“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 mentally toughest things to deal with? Especially because it went on for so long? One hundred per cent.
“The maddest thing is when you don’t play for whatever reason – if you’re out of form, or if you had a few bad games and someone is playing better than you – I know in my head that if you give me four or five games in a row, I’ll be back. I’ll take my chance.
“You know that in yourself because you’ve got that burning desire inside of you. Give me five games and you won’t get this shirt back.
“That’s an arrogance you have to have. The problem is he never gave me that.”