Cahill: The pitch and sun made it difficult at Brentford but we were off the pace
12:54 28 January 2013
Chelsea defender Gary Cahill was not surprised by the quality of the Brentford side after the 2-2 draw on Sunday afternoon.
The Bees led their more illustrious west London neighbours twice after goals from Marcello Trotta and Harry Forrester but Oscar and Fernando Torres rescued a replay from Griffin Park.
And Cahill believed that the pitch and having the sun in their eyes in the first half made it difficult for Chelsea to play their football, although the home side’s passing game was not affected.
“I was not surprised by Brentford,” he said. “When you come to places like this it’s their cup final in a way.
“We knew this pitch from the reserves. We knew it was not going to be good.
“We couldn’t play our passing game. They worked hard and put us under pressure.
“We found it difficult at times. Credit to them.”
The half-time statistics made shocking reading for the Blues as Brentford had had three shots on target to Chelsea’s none.
“It wasn’t good,” Cahill said. “It was sloppy more than anything.
“We can blame the pitch and we couldn’t see a thing for the sun in the first half.
“We were off the pace in the first half. The second half was better and we showed character.
“Sometimes in games like that, we can’t always play great football. We had to dig in and take the draw back to Stamford Bridge.”
Brentford fans went into the interval with a 1-0 lead and interim manager Rafael Benitez went off to shedloads of abuse from the Chelsea faithful.
Had the Blues failed to equalise, it would have left the Europa League as the only trophy Chelsea could plausibly win.
“Everyone was aware how important the game was,” the defender added.
“Ideally we would have liked to go in at half-time a couple of goals up. The conditions were horrible.
“We needed to grind out a result, which is what we did. The gaffer said a few words and the lads spoke with each other.
“Everyone knew it was below par. We spoke about that. We needed to keep pushing. It was not a very enjoyable game. Hopefully we can finish it off at home.
“We needed to dig in and just get the result. We wanted the win.
“Hopefully we can finish the job off at Stamford Bridge. I think it was good character after horrible difficult circumstances.”
Torres’ late strike pared the Blues’ blushes and they will have to go through it all again on February 17 in the replay.
Cahill will expect a difficult battle then but believes his side should see off their League One neighbours.
“It will be difficult,” he added. “It’s their cup final.
“In all honesty, at home, I hope we have too much for them.
“It’s not ideal [to have an extra game].
“Sometimes there are that many games that you’re recovering and the game is there again.
“There aren’t many days. You do feel leggy and the first-half was exactly that.
“We need to get on with it and do the job right at home.”