Gary Cahil: I feel flat and frustrated after Chelsea performance
Gary Cahill was left feeling flat, frustrated and disappointed after Chelsea’s title defence got off to a stuttering start.
There was an air of positivity around Stamford Bridge on Saturday as fans basked in the afterglow of last season’s Premier League success and Jose Mourinho’s new four-year deal.
Things started well enough on the field, too, with Oscar’s free-kick and a Federico Fernandez own goal either side of Andre Ayew’s classy debut strike giving the Blues a half-time lead.
However, Thibaut Courtois’ sending-off shortly after the restart changed the dynamics, with Bafetimbi Gomis slotting home the resulting penalty as Chelsea just about held on for a 2-2 draw.
“It feels like two points dropped, but they made it tough for us,” centre-back Cahill said after the game. “We played with 10 men for a long period of the game, so it was difficult.
“I feel a bit flat, I feel a bit disappointed after the game.
“It seemed like it was a bit of a frantic game, especially in the second half – it was like we attack them, they attack us, we attack them, they attack us.
“So maybe a bit more control in the game (was needed) but unfortunately obviously a draw at home which is, to be honest, not ideal but give a lot of respect to Swansea, they played well.”
The normally upbeat Cahill was clearly frustrated after a match in which he felt Courtois’ sending off was the “turning point”.
It was, he admits, a “demanding” start to the campaign, especially in the west London sun, and things do not get an easier over the coming weeks with a trip to West Brom following next weekend’s match at title rivals Manchester City.
“We’ve got two tough away games now,” Cahill told Chelsea TV
“We always have difficult games away at West Brom and obviously Man City, everyone knows how hard it is there.
“We’ve got two massive games coming up. It is only the first game but it is not an ideal start. But we keep working hard - dig in, work hard in what is going to be a very tough season.
“We knew that from the start, so we need to keep going, keep digging in and make sure we get results.”
A home clash with Newcastle is Swansea’s next test - a match Garry Monk’s men approach buoyed by such an impressive display in west London.
Summer signing Ayew was one of those to catch the eye at Stamford Bridge, showing wonderful poise and skill to net on his debut.
“They are the champions with a great squad, but we managed to get a great result,” he told the club’s official website.
“I was very happy with my goal, particularly as the squad has really helped me out. Hopefully I will continue working hard to help the team.
“Bafe had a good header saved, and then I had my first shot blocked. But I got up quickly and managed to score with the second shot. It was a really great moment for myself and, more importantly, the team.
“We must keep the spirit we have. We showed a lot of character. This is only the beginning for us.”