Chelsea defender Gary Cahill has praised his side’s resilience and character after coming back from a poor run to keep three clean sheets in a row, and he has called on them to maintain their concentration for the rest of the season.
Saturday’s 2-0 victory at Hull City sent the Blues to the top of the Premier League table briefly but they were eventually overtaken by Manchester City, favourites with Paddy Power to win the Premier League, and Arsenal. Now sat in third, just two points from the top, Cahill and his men will be counting themselves lucky that their dip in form at the start of December was short-lived. “We played Stoke and Sunderland where we conceded more than we would have liked and people thought the wheels had come off,” he said, of their respective 3-2 defeat and 4-3 victory. “But if you look at the clean sheets we’ve kept it’s something to be proud of as a team,” he added.
Saturday’s win was Chelsea’s fifth clean sheet in six games and ensured that they maintained their record as the only Premier League team yet to concede a goal in 2014. In Jose Mourinho’s first season in charge at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea conceded just 15 goals in the league, this season they have conceded 19 already but 11 of these have come away from home and Cahill is confident that the defence has now tightened up away from the Bridge. “We talked about our away form earlier in the season and I think we’ve addressed that,” the 28 year old said. “Every game in the Premier League is massive for us, you have to win week in, week out if you want to finish at the top,” he added.
There has been a marked improvement in the Chelsea defence over the last few weeks and they look far less vulnerable than they did earlier in the season. This is perhaps one of the reasons they are odds-on to win their clash against United on Sunday. If Cahill and his teammates can continue their current run of form then Chelsea will certainly be challenging for Premier League honours come the end of the season.