Chelsea player, Gary Cahill, has called on Chelsea to show more pride in their remaining Premier League fixtures — even though they find themselves in the unfamiliar position of not challenging for honours.
The Blues have surrendered the league title with a whimper this season and a 3-0 home defeat to Manchester City on Saturday evening left them languishing a sorry 10th in the table.
Cahill was left to rue a poor display and insisted the team must get their heads together and end a dismal season as strongly as possible, especially with new manager Antonio Conte waiting in the wings.
When asked if a lack of trophies or Champions League qualification could have an effect, Cahill said: “We are not used to it and sometimes that produces performances like that.
“But we should have more pride in ourselves to go out and give a performance and at least run around and try to get close to people.
“We need to maybe speak next week as a group because we have some great players and some good lads.
“We have nothing to play for but I don’t care how you play, you run around and if you make mistakes you make mistakes and you go again. I thought we lacked that in this game.”
Sergio Aguero notched a hat trick for the visitors, who improved their chances of securing a top-four finish after their own title tilt stuttered massively.
But for Chelsea, whose interim manager Guus Hiddink admitted City thoroughly deserved their margin of victory, it was another utterly forgettable afternoon in a campaign they must wish would end.
Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois was sent off after bringing down Fernandinho to allow Aguero to steer home a penalty to complete his hat trick.
But it was the first two goals which showed the gulf in class as former Chelsea man Kevin De Bruyne ran the show in midfield and the returning Yaya Toure and Samir Nasri also impressed.
Cahill echoed the sentiments of Hiddink in regards to City’s dominance but also called into question the desire of the Chelsea team.
“It is unbelievably disappointing,” the England defender told the club’s official website.
“I thought we got what we deserved. At times in that game we were rubbish and lacked the desire to get a result and they [Manchester City] had it and they punished us for it.
“We seemed to have a few corners for us and the next minute they were down our end having a dangerous attack at goal.
“Maybe it was a lack of concentration from us. We started the game okay, we had a few chances and put a bit of pressure on and got some corners but overall, we can play a hell of a lot better than that.”
While Chelsea face up to the prospect that they could still finish in the bottom half of the table, City are now looking more assured of achieving a top-four finish.
Like Hiddink, City boss Manuel Pellegrini will leave in the summer with Pep Guardiola set to take over, but the Chilean could leave the Etihad Stadium with Champions League success as City now face Real Madrid in the semifinals.
Pellegrini hailed his attacking stars and was pleased to be able to name the likes of De Bruyne, Nasri, Toure and Aguero in the same starting XI after a host of injuries preventing him from doing so.
But, even though De Bruyne shone on his return to Stamford Bridge, it was Aguero who stole the show as he hit his 12th Premier League goal in as many games.
The 27-year-old has missed out on the shortlist for PFA Player of the Year and has never won a personal award during his time in England — despite now being just one goal shy of 100 Premier League strikes, having only made 146 appearances.
But for Aguero, it is team success which is of utmost interest as he looks to keep his own form going for the remainder of the season.
“I’m very happy with the three goals but most importantly with the victory. The three points were very important,” he told CityTV.
“I will try to keep it up, to keep scoring goals and try my best. The objective is now to finish in the top four and then in the Champions League try and do our best.
“We still have a few games ahead of us. I’m sure I can reach 100 goals and I will try next Tuesday when we have an important game [against Newcastle].”