Gary Cahill Maurizio Sarri ChelseaGetty/Goal composite

'It's difficult to have respect for some things he did' - Cahill reveals rocky Sarri relationship at Chelsea

Gary Cahill has revealed that he suffered under Maurizio Sarri's tenure at Chelsea, accusing the current Juventus boss of failing to give him a chance to prove himself. 

Sarri joined the Blues in the summer of 2018 and spent just one season on the bench, leading the side to glory in the Europa League final over Arsenal. 

Cahill, however, played only a marginal role, playing just eight matches in what proved to be the last of eight seasons at Stamford Bridge. 

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Now at Crystal Palace, the defender insists that relations with the Italian started on the wrong foot and only got worse with time.

"We went to the 2018 World Cup, got to the semi-finals, so I missed pre-season, which I think was massive looking back now. He was very much into his tactics, probably too much, and I missed all of that," he told the Daily Mail.

"I was on the back foot. To be brutally honest, halfway through the season, the relationship was gone. I don't think that was ever going to be recovered.

"It's difficult to have respect for some of the things he did. But I have a lot of respect for the club, and for the players. As a big figure then, as captain, to go about things totally the wrong way, which I easily could have done, it's not the way to do it. 

"Was that easy? No. Was that one of the mentally toughest things to deal with? Especially because it went on for so long? One hundred per cent. 

"The maddest thing is when you don't play for whatever reason – if you're out of form, or if you had a few bad games and someone is playing better than you – I know in my head that if you give me four or five games in a row, I'll be back. I'll take my chance. 

"You know that in yourself because you've got that burning desire inside of you. Give me five games and you won't get this shirt back. That's an arrogance you have to have. The problem is he never gave me that."

Cahill's rocky relationship with Sarri was in stark contrast to his bond with fellow Italian Antonio Conte, whom he credits with turning round Chelsea's fortunes in 2016-17 with the switch to a three-man backline that led to the Blues winning the Premier League. 

"He was a great manager," said Cahill. "Conte said, 'Right, I'm changing this'. He knows that formation inside out, and there was not one player on the pitch who did not know his role inside out. If you didn't know it, you didn't play. 

"I played left of the three, whereas when we'd won the league with Jose (Mourinho), Azpi (Cesar Azpilicueta) was left-back and I was right-sided centre-back. Yet then Azpi went from left-back to right-sided centre-back and I went to the left-sided centre-back. 

"I spoke to Conte and he was adamant it would work. The Joses, the Contes. The attention to detail, the way they think. They never switch off. You have that confidence; an arrogance in a good way."