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Photo: Darren Walsh

Antonio Conte gave the Chelsea players three days off after the heavy defeat suffered at the Vicarage road.

Chelsea’s fortunes have dropped since the turn of the new year, and Chelsea captain Gary Cahill has admitted that the break was a positive move.

“I’m sure I speak for the rest of the lads when I say mentally, yes,’ he responded, when asked if the players had felt the benefits. ‘I don’t think it’s a case of physically having the days off, getting off your legs or not wanting to work. I think it’s an opportunity that the manager probably felt we could switch off from football for a few days and come back re-energised and re-focused for the job in hand, and I think it will be beneficial.

“When I say switch off I mean you’re in surroundings that aren’t football. You go away, spend time with your family and take yourself away from football. Mentally that’s a good thing to do. You don’t forget and not reflect on that game. I’d be lying if I said on the days off we’ve had I’ve not thought about that performance, that’s the way I am. But sometimes, to put yourself in other surroundings, with family, makes things better. You re-energise, re-focus and get back to what’s important, which is getting results for this club.

“The manager’s message is very much to keep working and when things don’t go so well, you work even harder. Having a few days off was rare but I think he saw it as a good opportunity. We’ve come back in and training was sharp. We need to keep calm and keep working, that’s the message and that’s all you can do. I think that’s the most vital thing for us.”

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Chelsea is more than just a football club to me; it's a passion I share, and my affinity with the Chelsea badge is one that will last forever. As far as watching my favourite team is concerned, I'd rather miss a meal than miss a Chelsea game.