Terry and Cahill scored against Southampton
Gary Cahill says Zouma is pushing both himself and John Terry Reuters

Chelsea centre-back Gary Cahill has hailed the depth and quality in the Blues squad despite manager Jose Mourinho hitting out at the club's fringe players for their poor performance in the Capital One Cup victory over Shrewsbury Town on Tuesday 28 October.

A number of fringe players, including Andre Schurrle, Mohamed Salah, Kurt Zouma and Filipe Luis, had the opportunity to force their way into Chelsea's starting line-up.

But even though Mourinho refused to name who disappointed him, he claimed some of the players failed to prove they deserve a regular place in his starting XI.

"I expect players to give me problems. I love problems. But a lot of them didn't and they've made it easy to choose my team for Saturday," the manager said after the game.

But Cahill has claimed the fringe players are pushing the usual starters to work harder in order to keep their place in the line-ups.

"There are options, not just up front but all over the pitch. We had some fresh legs [against Shrewsbury], along with the players who played on Sunday, and we grafted, worked hard and got the right result," Cahill said to Chelsea's official website.

Cahill is especially aware about his situation in the centre of the defence, claiming young Zouma proved at Shrewsbury that he is ready to become competition to both himself and John Terry for a place in the starting line-up.

"He's a big guy; he's strong, powerful, good in the air and a fantastic talent. He's a great guy off the pitch and every time he's been asked to play he's done really well," Cahill said.

"I've always felt pushed since I've been at the club. You never feel like the shirt is yours, there's always somebody either in front of you or right behind you and that's the way it is throughout your career,

"Kurt's a fantastic player and a great option for the manager to have, and obviously Iva [Branislav Ivanovic] can play centre-back as well."

After securing a draw in their visit to Manchester United, Cahill hopes to secure the three points in the derby against Queens Park Rangers on Saturday 1 November.

"I thought we played well against Manchester United but obviously there was disappointment right at the end," Cahill said.

"On Saturday it's another home game to look forward to, but QPR are coming off the back of a good result, I watched them on Monday [beating Aston Villa] and they were great so yet again it's another tough game in the Premier League.

"We're playing at home so hopefully we can get the right result. We have to prepare right, rest up after the Shrewsbury game and make sure we're ready."