GARY Cahill has backed Burnley to survive in the Premier League despite emerging victorious on his return to Turf Moor.
Cahill starred on loan with Burnley at the start of his career after arriving from Aston Villa during the 2004/05 season.
The 28-year-old has since gone on to become a regular in England’s central defence and returned to his former club on Monday with Chelsea.
Cahill was part of a Blues side that claimed a 3-1 victory over the Clarets, but Sean Dyche’s men gave a strong account of themselves and the defender thinks his old club can stay up this season.
“I hope so, I’m obviously fond of Burnley,” he said.
“I’ve been here, I played here, they gave me my chance early on in my career so I hope they do really, really well this season.
“I’ve seen enough from that game to think that they can do that.
“It was lovely to be back. I’ve played here for the England under 21s and to play against Burnley was great.
“I wish them all the very best because I had some fond memories here.”
Chelsea looked in control once they hit back from Scott Arfield’s opener but Cahill, who partnered John Terry in the Blues’ defence, insisted he never felt the match was completely comfortable.
“I think in the first half when we were passing it around it was quite comfortable but in the second half I don’t think it was comfortable, I think it was tough,” he added.
“The second half I thought they played very direct like we probably expected and it was a tough game, which we knew it would be.
“They played a lot of direct football and that’s always hard when they keep sticking the ball up there.
“We had a lot to do defensively, so I wouldn’t say it was comfortable, I’d say it was a tough game and we were thrilled with the win.
“I enjoyed it, I thought we played some good football at times.”
Cahill, who played at the World Cup with England this summer, also praised Chelsea’s character after they recovered from going a goal down to score three times in 18 minutes.
“Obviously it wasn’t ideal going 1-0 behind but the reaction from the lads was fantastic and we kind of put the game to bed in the first half, although it was a sticky scoreline.
“If they got one back then it was game on.
“I think the most pleasing thing was we went 1-0 behind and you hope for a response.
“The response was fantastic, we switched the game around.
“It’s a tough place to come, we knew they were going to be direct and strong, and they can play as well.
“With it being the first game here with the atmosphere was always going to be tough for us so we were thrilled with the three points.
“We’re off to a good start.”