Chelsea defender Gary Cahill has underlined the importance of not allowing off the field matters to affect his side's pursuit of the Premier League title.
The West London club recently issued a complaint over the use of "inappropriate language" by referee Mark Clattenburg - later clarified as of a racial nature - toward John Obi Mikel. With an instance of alleged fan racism at Stamford Bridge during Wednesday's Capital One Cup match and Blues captain John Terry also currently serving a four-match ban for racially abusing QPR defender Anton Ferdinand, Cahill insists the on-field matters must come first.
"It's important that we don't let anything affect us and we showed that won't happen," Cahill told reporters. "Whatever is going on off the pitch, players relish playing football."
The 26-year-old scored as Chelsea sealed progress to Capital One Cup quarterfinals on Wednesday with a 5-4 victory over Manchester United. With the club also competing in the FA Cup, FIFA Club World Cup, UEFA Champions League and Premier League this season, the center back accepted that Roberto's Di Matteo's squad will be fully tested over the coming months.
"The squad is maybe not as big as some others, but we have got enough depth in there to cope with the number of games," Cahill said. "It is going to be a busy period, so resting up is going to be as important as training."
The former Bolton man has seen more action due to Terry's suspension and has admitted to growing frustrated at being on the bench in the past.
"The bench is not where I want to be," he said. "It has been frustrating for me at times this season, but I think we rotate the team well and as long as you are getting as much game time as other people and not looked upon as third-choice, then that is fine."
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