Football

Cahill: Chelsea players must take responsibility for poor results

The Chelsea players need to shoulder the responsibility for their "abysmal" displays in recent weeks and not under-fire manager Antonio Conte, skipper Gary Cahill said.

The defending champions have endured a turbulent period on the pitch, losing 4-1 at Watford on Monday, five days after a 3-0 home loss to Bournemouth, increasing speculation over the future of the Italian.

"The players have to take responsibility. The manager has done an absolutely unbelievable job," defender Cahill said.

"This is the worst I've felt for a while. Performance-wise, I didn't recognise us or myself. It was abysmal."

Chelsea are fourth in the table, 19 points adrift of leaders Manchester City with a clash against struggling West Bromwich Albion coming up next week.

"We just need to keep strong. I've been here before at this club. It's about staying calm. It hurts a lot when you come off after a performance like that."

Fellow defender Cesar Azpilicueta said Chelsea must focus on finishing in the top four and suggested they could still salvage their season by winning a cup competition.

Chelsea face Hull City in the fifth round of the FA Cup and are in the last 16 of the Champions League, where they take on Barcelona later this month.

"I'm sure this team will fight back. We have three targets to go for and we have a massive three or four months ahead of us," Spaniard Azpilicueta said.

"As a player, what I want is to get back on the training field as soon as possible, work hard for Monday's game, get the three points and get some confidence back." - REUTERS

Football