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Newcastle thrashing best preparation for crunch week - Cahill

Gary Cahill sees Chelsea's brilliant 5-1 victory over Newcastle United as the ideal preparation for the two biggest matches of their season in the next eight days.

Chelsea have failed to provide an adequate defence of the Premier League they won last term, with Saturday's win lifting them up to 12th position - 20 points adrift of leaders Leicester City.

The west London club face a difficult trip to the Parc des Princes for the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie with Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday, before hosting Manchester City in the FA Cup fifth round next weekend.

With a title challenge beyond them, Cahill believes the emphatic victory sets Chelsea up well for fixtures that are crucial to making or breaking their season.

"We want to go as far as we can in the FA Cup and Champions League," Cahill told Sky Sports.

"Arguably, we have got the two biggest games of the season coming up for us now.

"We'll go into it with confidence but we know how important it's going to be."

Cahill, who returned to the starting line-up following the knee ligament injury suffered by Kurt Zouma last weekend, was pleased Chelsea managed to return to winning ways after back-to-back draws, praising the hunger of the players.

"It's great to be back on the pitch and, ultimately, great to get the result - not just the result but the way we went about it," he added.

"The performance was fantastic and it was enjoyable to be a part of. We got most things right. The appetite was there, the hunger to work hard.

"The attacking players we've got, when they're in full flow they're fantastic to watch, but we also did the defensive stuff. We chased, we harassed, we won the ball back numerous times very quickly when we lost it."