Tiredness a factor at Chelsea, says Cahill

Gary Cahill is concerned that Chelsea’s hectic schedule is harming their performances in the Premier League, ESPN has reported.

No team in England has played more matches than Chelsea this season, with the Blues taking part in the Community Shield, the European Super Cup, the Champions League, the Europa League and the Club World Cup, as well as reaching the two-legged semi-final stage of the Capital One Cup – and going to an FA Cup replay with League One side Brentford.

And Chelsea are facing the prospect of playing four games in eight days if they don’t beat Middlesbrough in the FA Cup fifth round on Wednesday – the only available date for a replay, if the match is drawn, is March 4, ESPN notes, two days after Chelsea play West Brom in the league and three days before their next Europa League fixture.

A combination of Chelsea’s defeat to Manchester City on Sunday and Tottenham Hotspur’s win over West Ham on Monday has seen the Stamford Bridge side drop to fourth in the table, their qualification for next year’s Champions League under threat from Arsenal in fifth.

Cahill said: “Unfortunately it does take its toll. We haven’t had a clear week for about 29 weeks and you’re expecting to go into games feeling 100% fresh, trying to push on further in all competitions. I think at this stage of the season, it is not an excuse, but fatigue has to play a part.

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