GARY CAHILL feared he had played his final part in Chelsea’s Double quest after being carted off to hospital last week.
And skipper-elect Cahill revealed how he has been dogged by gall bladder problems since childhood and will have to manage the issue for the rest of his career.
The defender returned to action last night to head home a decisive goal to get the title chase back on track just seven days after being admitted with a severe bout of his illness.
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He was forced to miss Saturday’s FA Cup semi final victory over Tottenham and told he needs regular doses of painkillers to keep his condition at bay.
Cahill said: “It’s something I’ve had since I was small. I have been aware of it and it is just a matter of keeping an eye on it.
“There have been times when I knew it was going to come on and I’d take some strong painkillers for it. If you get it in midweek, it tends to be ok.
“But a night before a game is not ideal because you can be up all night and that’s not great.
“But it was this on top of the viral infection, so when I was in there they tested my blood and wanted to keep me in.
“The worst thing at the time last week was if they had to take it out and that would have obviously set me back for the season.
“I was happy that wasn’t the case. It’s just a matter of keeping an eye on it and monitoring it.
“So it’s a good end to the week because it was a nightmare week for me personally.
“I was glad to be back on the pitch, glad to be back out there fit, the rest is history.
“I was in for one night. I had a viral infection, a problem with my gallbladder.
“It was causing me a lot of pain and that’s why we went to check it all out. They kept me overnight to keep an eye on everything.
“Thankfully I got rid of the pain and everything, and recovered, but it was just too late to make the semi-final.
“I’d not trained one minute, I’d not eaten anything and I’d lost a bit of weight.
“It was obviously not ideal me going into the game. I was disappointed with that, but I’m happy I’m over that now and am back out on the pitch.
“I just wanted to get out there, get back training. It was so frustrating watching at Wembley, but at the same time I was delighted, it was fantastic.
“I managed to train Sunday and Monday and was in the team Tuesday scoring a goal, so a good end to the week.”
Gutsy Cahill is also sporting a bump and a cut on the right side of his head from stray boot stud in training.
He joked: “Someone stood on my head, it has not been a fantastic week until Tuesday. I’ve been in the wars.”
Chelsea went on to win 4-2 against Southampton with goals from Eden Hazard and a double from Diego Costa.
At seven points clear at the top of the Premier League the pressure is all on second-placed Tottenham to respond with a win at in-form Crystal Palace tonight.
Cahill said: “It seems like the first time in a long time that we have played before Spurs. We have been playing second and we know what that’s like.
“All we could do was our job and we can sit back tonight and see what they can do.
“Obviously I’m sure they were gutted with the result at the weekend and they’re going to go to Palace, who are in great form.
“We will sit back and see. We can’t effect that. We could only affect the Southampton game and that was the most important thing.
“This week the manager and the staff have been telling us to keep focused and keep the foot down.
“It’s easy when you just come back off a semi-final victory that everyone is buzzing, happy and jolly, but a few days later we had a massive League game.
“He was conscious of that. He kept the foot down this week and we have delivered.”
Cahill is frontrunner to be named new Chelsea skipper when long-serving defender John Terry leaves the club at the end of this season.
Cahill said: “I have enjoyed it. I have had it for a lot of this season. I have really enjoyed the added bit of pressure on my shoulders.
“I tried to give it the armband to John when he came on as a sub, but he is superstitious and I don’t think he wanted it.
“Maybe it’s given me another challenge, a bit more responsibility. At the same time I still try and prepare for games the same way, do everything the same.
“Nothing has changed in that respect. But maybe an added challenge and responsibility.”