Chelsea defender Cahill backs coach

Chelsea defender Cahill backs coach

LONDON – Agence France-Presse
Chelsea defender Cahill backs coach

Chelsea captain Gary Cahill has insisted that he and his fellow players have “no idea” about Antonio Conte’s future at the Premier League champion as they prepare to take on Bournemouth on Jan. 31.

The Italian led the Blues to last season’s league title in his first season in charge, but he has been surrounded by speculation since the summer, with reports of a split between the club and coach over Chelsea’s transfer policy.

“It is between the manager and the board. We have no idea about that, we have no idea what’s going on between the lines,” the England center-back told reporters.

“I have experienced it a lot in my time here, but this has been a successful period. Chelsea is a successful football club and he is a top manager. We can’t have any impact.”

Third-placed Chelsea is 15 points behind runaway leader Manchester City and Conte remains under pressure but Cahill insists he still has the backing of all the players.

“Of course we are 100 per cent behind him. There is nothing between the manager and players, whatsoever,” he said.

“If Manchester City hadn’t done what they’ve done, the title would still be there to be won.

“This season they’ve been fantastic, but we still aim to fight for second place. We have a big month coming up ... let’s hope we come out at the end of that month in a positive way.”

Cahill admits his side has found it tough to deal with its recent intense run of fixtures, with Bournemouth’s visit its ninth game this month.

The team was beaten by Arsenal in the Carabao Cup semifinals last week but will host Hull City the FA Cup fifth round and awaits Barcelona in the last 16 of the Champions League.

“The last couple of months have been demanding to say the least,” he said.

“February is a huge, massive month for us. However heavy it is, we are not going to be able to change the fixtures. We just need to find the opportunity to rest, take that chance and be as fresh as we possibly can.”