CAHILL: CONSISTENCY THE KEY
Gary Cahill believes we can take heart from our first-half performance in Sunday's win over Arsenal as we attempt to overturn a 2-0 deficit against Swansea City in the Capital One Cup semi-final.
Rafael Benitez's side face an uphill task if we are to secure a Wembley date against either Bradford City or Aston Villa next month, but after the weekend victory over Arsene Wenger's side, our first at home in 2013, Cahill feels we are heading into the game in good shape.
'It was important to get a win at home against a great team. In the first half it was some of the best football we've played in a long time, we were fantastic,' said the Blues defender.
'In the second half we knew they'd push players on and take more of a chance, so we had to drop back, but we were resilient in the end and got the win that we needed.'
Michael Laudrup's side will start the game as favourites following their victory in west London a fortnight ago, but while the result itself was a major disappointment, if we had taken advantage of our early dominance it could have been a very different story.
Our previous two visits to the Liberty Stadium have ended in 1-1 draws, but having won our previous six matches away from home, scoring 20 goals in the process, an early blow to the home side, as Cahill acknowledged, could change the whole balance of the tie.
'It will be tough because it's a hard place to go,' said Cahill. 'They're so well organised and play really good football.
'The key for us will be getting the first goal, if we can do that I'm sure it will be a nervy night for them and that's what we aim to get.
'They're an attacking team, but we have to go at them and try to hurt them. It's certainly one of the biggest games of the season for us.'
Tomorrow's game will be our fourth successive midweek fixture, with another one to come next week, and Cahill admitted that such an intense schedule does eventually start to take its toll on the players.
'It's demanding for sure,' he said. 'Ideally, you want to go into a game feeling 100 per cent fresh every time in order to get the best result and play your best, but at the moment it's impossible to go into the games feeling that way.'
We now face four away matches in a row, with the Swansea game preceding trips to Brentford, Reading and Newcastle United, and having stopped the rot at home, Cahill is eager for us to maintain the winning habit.
'We possess the quality to hurt teams, but consistency will be the key for us,' he said. 'Sometimes we've dropped points in games we would expect to win.
'We just have to keep looking upwards, we need to make sure we're in the Champions League places for next season and obviously we're still in three cups.
'We just need to keep trying to win games. We've already seen this season that teams can slip up here and there, so we need to win as many games as we can and see what happens.'