Cahill: Important competition

Gary Cahill says there is more than enough quality within the Chelsea squad to ensure we can challenge for both the FA Cup and Champions League this season.

The captain returned to the starting line-up for yesterday’s FA Cup fourth round win over Newcastle, with the Blues running out 3-0 winners courtesy of two Michy Batshuayi goals and a Marcos Alonso free-kick.

Cahill played for the first time since he was forced out of the goalless draw against Leicester and felt we eventually got what we deserved.

‘It was important for us to win the game,’ he said. ‘It was a decent performance in the end, I felt we started a little bit rusty in the first 10-15 minutes but we got to grips with the game and in the second half I felt we controlled it. We needed that win and we needed to progress more importantly.

‘Individually there were some great performances, especially Michy. He works very hard and he took his opportunity. Sometimes when you start slow you need a goal to get you off the mark and that’s what he did.’

Having been beaten in the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup last week, the defender believes the two cup competitions we remain in have now taken on added significance.

‘We need to try our very best to reach the final so it’s an important competition for us this year,’ he responded, when asked about the importance of the FA Cup.

‘Chelsea have been lucky enough to win it a few times in the past and this year it’s very important. We have that and the Champions League to push really hard for and we’re more than good enough.'

With 17-year-olds Ethan Ampadu and Callum Hudson-Odoi, who was making his Chelsea debut, introduced for the closing stages of yesterday’s game, we became the first English top-flight side to field more than one player born in the 21st century in a single domestic match, and Cahill spoke about their quality.

‘It’s down to them,’ he said. ‘They certainly have the ability. I see them in training and they work hard, which is the most important thing, as well as the ability. It was great to see them on the pitch.’