Gary Cahill thinks Antonio Conte’s reign as manager of Chelsea has been successful but he wants to see his club clarifiy their head coach’s position so they can move forward either with him, or without him.
Chelsea mounted a poor title defence this season which has left them out of the Champions League spots for next season after finishing fifth in the Premier League.
However, they still ended the season on a high note by beating Manchester United 1-0 in the FA Cup final on Saturday evening. Cahill is happy to celebrate the success, but seemed relieved that his side can now regroup in the summer, as he wants to see Conte’s position resolved by the club’s directors.
“I probably want the uncertainty to be put to bed and for whatever is going to happen, to happen,” Cahill said at Wembley. “Naturally, we will see what happens with the club. I don’t really want to speak about it. Today is about celebrating the FA Cup. It is out of our hands.
“We fell short in some aspects this season but today we produced and the rest behind the scenes is not down to us. So we will wait and see. This summer, a lot of the lads have got big summers ahead. I am going to chill out of six days and take my mind away from football and look forward to the tournament with my national team.
“I feel a sense of uncertainty and I think that’s obvious to everybody in the last few months. What I can say, obviously we as players have no impact on that situation. I am sure, if I was a guessing man, they will have spoken between the club and manager. Let’s see, I am sure the manager will make the best decision for him and his family.
“I am sure the club will make the best decision for what they feel. I am not dodging the question but it is totally out of our hands, we just sit on the side. What I can say, it has been a great finish. If he stays on next year, then he stay on. If he doesn’t then we have ended with a Premier League and FA Cup.
“I think that is something that everyone at this club can be proud of, even the people behind the scenes who you don’t see. They work tirelessly behind the scenes and it is a long slog of a season. Everyone feels like we have got our reward now and we are going to celebrate and have a good time.
“We are going to celebrate all together as a team, as a tight-knit family. As I said, you have to enjoy these moments and they don’t come around every day. Who knows whether we will be in another FA Cup final, you never know, so enjoy the moment. I think the whole season almost built up to this day, where we had to try and rescue and produce today.
“That goes for all the staff and everyone who delivers behind the scenes. We had to try to deliver a trophy. When you look at it in terms of last year we got the Premier League title and this year was the FA Cup, it is not too bad. Two years, two titles and one runners-up. Like I said the other day, for me that is success.”
Cahill has had a turbulant season of his own and had been dropped for a long period in winter and spring by Conte which led to him being left out of the England squad in April.
However, the captain has since fought his way back into the Chelsea side and earned a spot in Gareth Southgate’s 23 man squad for the World Cup in Russia. Cahill lifted his first trophy as club captain at Wembley Stadium and he spoke about why he held onto the trophy for a long time, before releasing it to his team-mates after beating Jose Mourinho’s side.
“It feels amazing, absolutely amazing for a number of reasons. Number one, obviously with our season [being tough]. Two, we tasted disappointment in this competition last year. Three, we won this competition in 2012 but I didn’t play at centre half through injury,” He added.
“To be out there on the pitch, leave everything out there and win it today, from a selfish point of view is special for me. I felt the pressure before this game. I felt like we really had to win this game to save our season. When I say save it, I am not saying it has been a massive success, but at the same time it is the FA Cup.
“We have won a trophy this year which a number of teams haven’t. It is extremely difficult to do that. I wanted to remember the moment. Without being too emotional about it, it is one of those things when you grow up as a kid watching the FA Cup, then to play in an final is one thing and to win it is another.
“To captain the club is another. So you have to remember these moments. I said to the lads before we went out not to take anything for granted in terms of being in a final. No matter what you have achieved in your career, I wanted them to remember when they were first starting out and looking for that first appearance, remember them days and don’t take it for granted that we reached the final.
“It is one of them, throughout the season, you take criticism and sometimes rightly so. We fell short in quite a few competition, like I said the other day. But you keep quiet, you keep plugging and plugging away and when you know what you could achieve at the end of the season.
“I had a feeling before the game and all week that it was a massive game. I wanted it more than anything and we have managed to deliver so it feels amazing. It is a dream, but you reap your rewards. I feel that if you keep working hard, then there’s a number of things needed. You need ability and character, you need all these things.
“But you sit quiet, take it on the chin when it is good or bad. You keep plugging away and you reap your rewards. I was out there today and I felt like I delivered a great performance, as did the rest of my team-mates on the biggest stage. I’d rather do my talking on the pitch.
“When I was out of the team it was difficult to do that but now I am back in the team and it is easier to do that and there’s no bigger stage than today. I spoke before the game [to the team]. That’s it. I don’t want to go too much into it because that’s personal for us. I touched upon it, I spoke before the game.
“I felt like we were ready, we were prepared. Someone said to me the other day, can you just switch it back on after that Newcastle performance? I felt confident this week and good. When you are in a squad, you are looking around to make sure that everyone is focused and feels the same way. I felt like that.
“Today was a strange game, it wasn’t the most exciting game for a neutral to watch, but we scored early in the game which probably made it more defensive for us. Naturally when you are 1-0 up against Manchester United, you are not going to gamble too much, when you are in the lead.
“We had to soak up a lot of pressure, I felt defensively, not just the back five and the team as a whole was terrific defensively. Of course, Thibaut had to pull off some saves.”