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Gary Cahill sets sights on second

Gary Cahill believes Chelsea can still finish second in the league and says that is a target for the Stamford Bridge squad.

• Blog: Who could replace Benitez?

The European champions host Sparta Prague in the Europa League on Thursday, holding a 1-0 lead, before travelling to champions Manchester City in the Premier League on Sunday. A win at the Etihad Stadium would take the Blues to within a point of second place.

The situation reflects a recent upturn in results after an erratic spell, with Chelsea having won their last three games in all competitions.

Asked whether Chelsea could still finish second, Cahill said: "I think so. We've a huge game tomorrow night, then a massive game on Sunday. If we get a positive result on Sunday, it opens that right back up, so one game at a time.

"We'll be looking to do that on Sunday, although it's going to be a tough game away from home. But if we do get a positive result, second place is in touching distance for us."

Cahill also feels Chelsea will benefit from the end of a hectic schedule that has seen them play a midweek game almost every week for the past three months.

The period between the 3-2 loss at Newcastle and the 4-1 home win over Wigan at the start of February was the only time during interim manager Rafa Benitez's spell in charge that they have had an entire week off.

Other than that, they have not enjoyed more than five days of rest between games since November 17 - a schedule Cahill described as "crazy".

He said: "I've never been involved in so many fixtures. There's nothing you can do about it.

"There's limited time to go and work on things in training ground. You've got to rest up after you've played the game, so it's difficult in that respect. There's nothing you can do about it, so you just have to get on with it."

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