Cahill: Schedule is tough
Chelsea defender Gary Cahill believes the busy fixture schedule is taking its toll on him and his team-mates as the club compete on three fronts this season.
Alongside their push for a top-four Premier League finish, Rafael Benitez's men are also competing in the FA Cup and UEFA Europa League.
After next week's international break, Chelsea will take in a run of six games in 16 days, including a two-legged Europa League quarter-final and the replay of their FA Cup last-eight tie with Manchester United.
While reluctant to make excuses for the Blues' inconsistent form this season, 27-year-old centre-half Cahill admits the congested fixture list is proving tough.
He told the Daily Telegraph: "People criticise you if you say you are tired, and we know we have to get on with it because the fixtures are there.
"But all I am saying, as a general fact, is that players do not go into every game feeling 100 per cent fresh, it is impossible.
"At a big club every single game is so important, but you might be going in 60-70 per cent fresh through no fault of your own.
"Everyone is trying to recover but you just don't have the days. It is not an excuse, but it is a fact."