Gary Cahill has opened up about the decline of his relationship with former Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri, saying that it was “difficult to have respect for some of the things he did”.
The former England defender moved to Stamford Bridge in January 2012, going on to win eight major trophies with the Blues before moving to Crystal Palace last summer.
During the 34-year-old’s final season in West London, played under Italian manager Sarri, club captain Cahill struggled for minutes, making only eight appearances in all competitions compared to 42 the season before.
And Cahill has discussed when his relationship with the Blues boss hit rock bottom, citing England’s run to the World Cup semi-finals as having a negative impact on his opportunities in a Chelsea shirt.
“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 Daily 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 also explained that he was never given the chance to force his way into the Italian’s plans, adding: “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 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.”