Gary Cahill has revealed how he spoke to Chelsea boss Antonio Conte about giving his stars more time off amid their poor run of recent form.
The Blues captain was quoted by the London Evening Standard as he explained to the Italian that it was imperative to give the club's ailing players a much needed break, as back-to-back defeats to Bournemouth and Watford weighed heavy on their minds.
A 3-0 triumph over West Brom on Monday has allayed some of the club's fans' fears over a potential implosion, and Cahill said that he had spoken to his gaffer about maybe giving Chelsea's players some downtime.
He said: “I mentioned the idea of taking more days off to the coach. I just felt that there were a lot of bad feelings around the place.
“It was important for everyone mentally to get away. Sometimes it’s unhealthy to be in the same environment all of the time, especially when there is a lot of negativity around for whatever reason.
“This was the first time I could remember this season that we had a free week in between games. I thought it was a great opportunity to mentally freshen our minds up and physically freshen the bodies up. Everyone knows we do a lot of physical training on top of the games we are playing.
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“So to take ourselves away from the surroundings, for partners to be with their family and kids, gave us that distraction so that we could come back and refocus on the job.”
The tactic appeared to pay off as Conte agreed to extend the club's one day break to three - but Cahill admitted that it wasn't a case of downing tools despite being given some more time off from training.
Devastated to hear today’s news from Ryan. Competing for a corner is something we’ve done thousands of times and to see those consequences for a top professional like Ryan is heartbreaking. Sending all my love to him and his family, and wishing him the best for the future.— Gary Cahill (@GaryJCahill) February 13, 2018
He added: “Last week wasn’t a case of, ‘Let’s take three days off and have a jolly’. I was thinking about that Watford game on several occasions throughout.
“If we’d gone into train as normal the next day, we would probably have had one of those player meetings to talk things out. But I think after the break we didn’t need to speak about that game. To go over old wounds, especially when you’ve come back with the intent to think positively, is not going to help anyone.
“I think the time off helped us all 100 per cent. You could see in the 3-0 win over West Brom on Monday that it had benefited us.”