Gary Cahill admitted his final season at Chelsea was a “horrible” experience, but now hopes to move on as he settles in at Crystal Palace.
Maurizio Sarri’s arrival at Stamford Bridge last year effectively spelt the end of Cahill’s eight-year Blues career.
Despite donning the captain’s armband and featuring regularly under the likes of Antonio Conte and Jose Mourinho, he had no spot in Sarri’s plans. The Italian instead favoured David Luiz and Antonio Rudiger as his two starting centre-backs.
Therefore, Cahill made just eight appearances and didn’t even make the bench on a lot of occasions. The defender, in fact, tasted just 22 minutes of Premier League football.
The 33-year-old then left west London this summer once his contract had expired and signed a two-year deal at Palace.
“I think you never saw on the outside how tough it was, to be honest,” Cahill told Sky Sports.
“It’s something I never want to get used to, I’ve played a heavy part in every season I’ve been at that club, so it was a freak [season].
“It’s erased out of my life, it was a horrible year but I won’t remember it in my career at Chelsea, I’ll remember all the seasons before that and how successful they were.
“The situation was always going to end in me leaving, it’d gone too far one way, especially with the manager there, it was always going to happen.”
Overall, Cahill made 290 appearances in all competitions for Chelsea and helped them win eight trophies. These included two Premier Leagues, two FA Cups, an EFL Cup, a Champions League and two Europa Leagues.
But now the former England international is ready to embrace his new challenge at Selhurst Park.
“In terms of my hunger, I got asked a question about what I want to do after winning this that and the other at Chelsea,” he added.
Although it seems Cahill may have a fight on his hands at Palace as well after not playing in Sunday’s 1-0 defeat to Sheffield United.
Manager Roy Hodgson instead benched him in favour of Scott Dann and Martin Kelly as his two starting centre-backs. However, the pair couldn’t prevent John Lundstram’s early second-half goal.