CAHILL: ALL COMING TOGETHER
The captain returned to the side on Saturday to marshal us to a second consecutive clean sheet, and partnered Cahill for the first time in central defence for Chelsea as we earned a 1-0 win over Stoke City at Stamford Bridge.
'It felt solid and I think defensively as a whole we all played our part. Branislav Ivanovic played fantastically in the first half and then David Luiz has come on and done well,' said the 26-year-old former Bolton man. 'Having John back is obviously a positive for us, and we defended really well and deserved our clean sheet.
'He's got massive experience and we were solid. I had a little relationship with England with him and this was the first Chelsea game I played alongside him. I think it works well but we all had a part to play and contributed. As a unit we looked a lot more solid.'
Having signed for the club in January, Cahill admitted it was a strange experience to see Andre Villas-Boas leave the club so soon after his own arrival, but believes we have responded well to Roberto Di Matteo's leadership over the last week.
'It's been good, the response to him has been positive and we've had two good results,' the centre-back said. 'It has been strange. I feel I am settling down now and feeling a part of the team, I hope it shows on the pitch.
'The new manager has put his spin on things, just the way he does his training sessions are a little different, but the personnel around the place has not changed too much. It's been positive, and the lads have responded positively to it. We're getting on with the job we have to do, it's not a nice when the manager loses his job, it was a sad moment for everyone, but it's a cruel game and you have to move on.'
Focus now switches to Champions League football, with Napoli bringing a two-goal advantage to west London on Wednesday evening. Three weeks ago Cahill made his debut in Europe's elite competition and admitted afterwards it could not have gone much worse as we were well beaten 3-1, but he remains confident we can pull off a result to take us into the quarter-finals.
'Conceding goals is not a nice feeling and on the night everything went wrong that could have done so it wasn't a pleasant Champions League debut and hopefully we can put that right,' he said.
'Defensively we were poor and I was a big part of that, Saturday was miles better and we're getting more of a relationship and solidarity, like at Birmingham. Hopefully we've turned the corner and results have gone well in the last couple of games.
'This is an important week for us and we have two more massive games now to contend with (with Leicester to follow in the FA Cup), but with a couple of wins we have confidence and know what we have to do on Wednesday.'