Chelsea captain Gary Cahill has called for an end to the uncertainty surrounding the future of manager Antonio Conte following their FA Cup final victory over Manchester United on Saturday.
Conte laid down the gauntlet to the clubs hierarchy in the immediate aftermath of his sides 1-0 victory at Wembley, secured courtesy of a first-half Eden Hazard penalty, and issued an ultimatum to back him or sack him.
The Italian described himself as a “serial winner” having added the FA Cup – the first domestic cup competition he has won in his managerial career – to the Premier League title secured last season.
Chelsea added the FA Cup to the Premier League title won by Antonio Conte last season (Source: Getty)
Conte, who has a year left on his Stamford Bridge contract, has repeatedly clashed with the Chelsea board over transfers during a turbulent campaign, and Cahill insists a resolution is needed.
Asked what needs to happen over the summer for Chelsea to mount a sustained top-flight title challenge next term, Cahill said: “Probably the uncertainty needs to be put to bed and whatever is going to happen needs to happen.
“You certainly feel a sense of uncertainty [as players], thats been obvious to everyone in the last few months. What I can say is that we as players dont have any impact upon that situation.
Eden Hazard settled matters with a first-half penalty (Source: Getty)
“Im sure there will have been dialogue between the club and the manager and lets see. Im sure the manager will make the best decision for him and his family and Im sure the club will make the best decision in terms of how they feel.
“If the manager stays on next season then he stays on. If he doesnt then he has gone away with a Premier League title and an FA Cup – something everyone at the club can be proud of.”
Twelve months after topping the Premier League, dethroned champions Chelsea finished outside the top four, trailing the irrepressible Manchester City by a whopping 30 points, and will contest the Europa League next season.
Cahill, however, who joined Chelsea from Bolton in 2012, believes Saturdays triumph over United and former Blues boss Jose Mourinho went some way to salvaging a tempestuous campaign.
Gary Cahill missed the 2012 FA Cup final through injury (Source: Getty)
“We had to win,” added Cahill, who missed the 2012 FA Cup final, when Chelsea beat Liverpool, through injury.
“We really had to win this game and save the season. When I say that, I dont mean that all of a sudden its a massive success but it gives us some silverware which a lot of clubs havent managed.”
The last few weeks have seen a remarkable revival of fortunes for Cahill. Having lost his place in Chelseas team, the 32-year-old was omitted from the England squad for friendlies against Holland and Italy in March, which left his World Cup chances dangling precariously.
However, having regained his spot in Chelseas backline, he was last week named in Gareth Southgates Three Lions travelling party for the tournament in Russia. Cahill said: “If you keep working hard, have ability and have character then you reap your rewards.
“You dont really want to talk about it during the season, you sit quietly and take it on the chin. But I was out there [in the final] and I felt like I delivered a great performance, as did the rest of my teammates, on a big stage.”