Jose Mourinho's Chelsea side lead Manchester City by six points with a game in hand for the Premier League title. Paul Gilham / Getty Images
Jose Mourinho's Chelsea side lead Manchester City by six points with a game in hand for the Premier League title. Paul Gilham / Getty Images

‘The title is in our hands’: European exit means Chelsea can throw full weight at Premier League

Gary Cahill believes Chelsea will take a major step towards winning the Premier League title if they can secure victory at Hull City on Sunday.

Jose Mourinho’s side head into the latest round of matches with a commanding six-point lead at the top of the table, having played a game less than their main rivals.

Their Champions League exit at the hands of Paris Saint-Germain means Chelsea’s focus is trained solely on the domestic championship as they attempt to add to their success in the League Cup earlier this season.

Mourinho believes the lack of European action will ensure his side are not affected by fatigue during the closing weeks of the season, and England centre-back Cahill agrees this should boost the club’s hopes of claiming a first English title since 2010.

“Of course we’re disappointed to go out of the Champions League, we wanted to go all the way in the competition. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be and we can’t go back in time, so we switch our minds now with 10 games to play and a huge prize at the end of it,” Cahill said.

“We have a bit of a luxury in that we can prepare for a full week for most games now, and train as a group more than we usually can do. Hopefully that can benefit us as well.”

Chelsea faltered last weekend when they were held at home by Southampton, but a shock defeat for second-placed Manchester City at Burnley meant the London club still managed to strengthen their position at the top.

And with the international break to come, three points this weekend will provide more breathing space as the countdown to the end of the season continues.

“The title is in our hands,” Cahill said.

“We have a lot at stake but we’re in a fantastic position. We also know there is hard work ahead. We’re in the run-in and we all want to achieve the same thing.

“We’re definitely in a good place. At the start of the season if we’d been offered being six points clear and a game in hand, we’d have been absolutely delighted.

“We’re in a fantastic position but there’s a lot of hard work still to be done.

“It’s a huge game on Sunday and going into the internationals we want to have a feel-good factor, so we need to perform well in the Hull game beforehand and make sure we’re not disappointed when we go away.”

Struggling Hull will be without Nikica Jelavic after the Croatian striker underwent an operation on a knee that has troubled him for most of the season.

The rehabilitation process is expected to take at least six weeks but it could be that Jelavic misses the remainder of the season.

Jelavic is Hull’s leading scorer with eight goals and manager Steve Bruce has challenged Abel Hernandez to take the chance to finally make his mark.

Hernandez moved to Hull for a club-record £10 million (Dh54.9m) from Palermo in September but has scored just three goals since.

“Now is the time for Hernandez to fill the role,” said Bruce, whose side are only three points above the relegation zone.

“I have been very pleased with him, especially over the last three or four weeks.

“He looks far more settled. He looks as if he is happier round the place. He is learning the language and looks used to being in England.”

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