Gary Cahill has revealed the viral infection which briefly hospitalised him last week had exacerbated a gallbladder problem from which he has suffered since childhood, with the Chelsea captain having returned to the side on Tuesday to score in the Premier League leaders’ critical victory over Southampton.
The England defender had started feeling ill at the beginning of last week and was eventually admitted to hospital for treatment. He was not deemed fit enough to feature in Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final against Tottenham Hotspur but, after a team-mate inadvertently stood on Cahill’s head in training on Monday, returned to the side against Southampton and scored his team’s crucial second goal just before half-time.
The win reinstated Chelsea’s seven-point lead at the top of the division before Spurs’ tricky trip to Crystal Palace on Wednesday night. “It was a good end to the week because it was a nightmare few days for me personally,” said the centre-half. “I was glad to be back on the pitch, glad to be back out there fit, the rest is history. I was in [hospital] for one night. I had a viral infection, a problem with my gallbladder, and it was causing me a lot of pain. That’s why we went to check it all out.
“They kept me overnight to keep an eye on everything and, thankfully, I got rid of the pain and everything, and recovered, but it was just too late [to make the semi-final]. I’d not trained one minute, I’d not eaten anything and I’d lost a bit of weight. The gallbladder problem is something I’ve had since I was small. I have always been aware of it. The worst thing at the time would have been if they had had to take it out as that would have obviously set me back for the season. I was happy that wasn’t the case.
“It’s just a matter of keeping an eye on it and monitoring it. There have been times over my career when I knew it was going to come on and I’d have to take some strong painkillers for it. If you get it in midweek, it tends to be OK. But a day before a game is not ideal because you can be up all night and that’s not great.”
Cahill had watched on from the sidelines at Wembley but, despite that unfortunate clash at Cobham on Monday, took the ball off Diego Costa’s boot as the striker was attempting an ambitious overhead kick to nod Chelsea back into the lead against Southampton. “It was so frustrating watching at Wembley but I was still delighted for the team,” Cahill said. “I’d managed to train Sunday and Monday, and then someone stood on my head in training. So it hadn’t been a fantastic week up until the Southampton game.
“We needed that win. I’d be lying if I said nerves didn’t kick in [at 1-1] because we know how vitally important these games are. They felt they were back in the game at that stage, so you have to manage that well. That’s why the timing of the second goal was great. It gave us the belief to go on and put the game to bed.”
The 4-2 success was eventually secured courtesy of Costa’s first goals since early March, ending a seven-match scoreless run in all competitions to suggest a timely return to form.
“I was delighted for Diego,” added Cahill. “He put in a brilliant performance. Eden [Hazard] has been scoring some vital goals for us lately, but to see Diego scoring was great for us. The fourth goal was something special. It is what he has been like for the majority of the season. I’m buzzing that he scored and put in a display like that: we have full confidence and belief in him. It was only ever going to be a matter of time before he scored.
“Now we can sit back tonight and see what Tottenham Hotspur can do. Obviously I’m sure they were gutted with the result at the weekend, and they’re going to go to Palace, who are in great form. We will sit back and see. We can’t affect that. We could only affect the Southampton game and that was the most important thing.”
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010
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