Crystal Palace defender Gary Cahill: Chelsea were in top gear for my Stamford Bridge return

BY ANDREW MCSTEEN

Gary Cahill was left disappointed on his return to Stamford Bridge – but reckoned Crystal Palace ran into a Chelsea side at their best.

The defender, 33, left the Blues in the summer after a trophy-laden seven-year spell in west London.

Tammy Abraham and Christian Pulisic scored in a 2-0 win over the Eagles.

“You come to places like Stamford Bridge and you’re hoping they have an off day – they go out and perform a little bit below their levels,” said Cahill. “But they didn’t. They were very sharp.

“It was a strange game for me – but it was always going to be weird. I tried not to let things distract me, I wanted to prepare as normal. It was a fantastic reception from the home fans, I was very honoured.

“We couldn’t break their back four and get that first goal to give us something to hold on to.”

“I want to win football matches, I don’t like losing, so on that side of it you come off with a disappointing result.

“But it was a good performance from us, we gave everything and there are a lot of positives to take.

“They performed very well and if you have wave after wave of attacks eventually they’re going to score, but I thought it was marginally onside for their first goal, but [the run] was very well-timed – it was a blow for us.”

Palace are without a win in their last four league games with their next clash against runaway Premier League leaders Liverpool, following the international break.

But Champions League winner Cahill is not worried.

“Our fixtures at the moment are incredible – Man City, Arsenal, Leicester City, Chelsea and Liverpool next – all together. I’ve never had that in my career and that’s very tough for us,” he said.

“But there’s a lot of character in this football team and we’ll be fine this season. We’ll come out the back of these tough fixtures, roll our sleeves up and go again.”

PICTURE BY KEITH GILLARD

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