Blues can't afford any injuries: Cahill

LONDON • New Chelsea captain Gary Cahill has suggested that the Blues will have to rely on keeping players fit this season if they do not add to their depleted ranks during the summer transfer market.

Antonio Conte's side, deprived of the injured Eden Hazard and with new signing Tiemoue Bakayoko sidelined after knee surgery, looked short of resources during their Community Shield defeat by Arsenal on Sunday.

Cahill noted that the squads named in the Wembley programme showed Chelsea listing 17 fewer players than their opponents.

The 31-year-old Englishman, who took over the armband following John Terry's departure to Aston Villa, said that Chelsea will need to avoid further injuries if they are to challenge on all fronts.

"In terms of quality we've certainly got that, but you just have to hope we don't have too many injuries," he said. "The new players that have just come are going to be vitally important for us, and the quicker they settle the better, but there's no doubt we have added quality to the team."

Antonio Rudiger has joined Bakayoko and Alvaro Morata at Chelsea. However, the latter pair are arguably replacements for Manchester United new boy Nemanja Matic and Diego Costa, who is expected to leave the club.

Cahill reiterated Chelsea's numbers would be stretched by Premier League and Champions League campaigns.

"They're going to be tested, 100 per cent," he said. "We'll see how that plays out, but we just have to keep everybody fit and sharp.

"Rest is going to be important because we're going to have a lot of games, and we players are in control of the way we prepare ourselves. The other stuff outside of that is none of our business."

He was the only Blues player to score in the 4-1 shoot-out defeat, and he admitted he does not like the new "ABBA" shoot-out format, saying it makes life tougher for the trailing team.

"First impression, I'm not a fan," he said. "We were a couple of goals down[2-1 BEHIND], after one penalty, so mentally that's different from when you've got (the old ABAB format)."

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 09, 2017, with the headline 'Blues can't afford any injuries: Cahill'. Print Edition | Subscribe