Ex-Chelsea star Gary Cahill opens up on difficult relationship with Maurizio Sarri

Sarri’s time at Chelsea

Maurizio Sarri took the reins at Chelsea ahead of the 2018/19 campaign.

Sarri took over from fellow Italian Antonio Conte, who had endured a rather disappointing 2017/18 season, and failed to secure Champions League football.

Sarri spent just one season at Stamford Bridge, and was fairly successful.

The former Napoli boss guided Chelsea to a 3rd place finish in the Premier League, as well as making it to the League Cup final, where his side were beaten by eventual treble winners Manchester City.

And Sarri also helped Chelsea to win the 2019 Europa League final vs fellow English outfit Arsenal.

The Italian tactician lost just eight league games last season, one less than current boss Frank Lampard, in nine fewer outings.

However, despite getting the club back into Europe’s most coveted club competition, and earning some silverware, Sarri didn’t always have the best time in the English capital.

Maurizio Sarri

BAKU, AZERBAIJAN – MAY 28: Maurizio Sarri, Manager of Chelsea kicks his cap in frustration during the Chelsea FC training session on the eve of the UEFA Europa League Final against Arsenal at Baku Olimpiya Stadion on May 28, 2019 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Cahill on Sarri

One thing that made Sarri unpopular with some of the Chelsea faithful was his infamous ‘Sarri-ball’, with some fans having gone as far as to chant ‘F*** Sarri-ball’ during games.

As well as failing to appease large sections of Chelsea’s fans with his tactics, Sarri also seemingly built a fairly poor relationship with one of the Blues’ key men at the time.

Gary Cahill joined Chelsea from Bolton back in 2012, and he had acted as a pivotal member of the Londoners’ backline for many years.

However, under Sarri, the Englishman found his game-time extremely limited, with Cahill having garnered just eight appearances under the Italian.

And now, in a recent interview, Cahill has been discussing his relationship with Sarri, which he claims was ‘gone’ halfway through the campaign:

“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 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.” As quoted by Goal.

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This article was edited by Conor Laird.