Suspension and a dip in form followed which culminated in Cahill being dropped in favour emerging young talent Andreas Christensen, whom Conte would go on to describe as Chelsea's present, future and a potential captain of the club.
The Blues' chances of success hinge on Antonio Conte getting his team selection and tactics right for each of their remaining five matches, starting with Saturday's Premier League fixture away to Swansea City.
Being marginalised by Conte also had a knock-on effect for Cahill's chances of making the England squad for this summer's World Cup tournament in Russian Federation.
The Brazilian centre-back has been out of favour at Stamford Bridge this season and he is determined to leave if Antonio Conte stays at the club.
The Chelsea head coach said it is crucial for Gareth Southgate, the England manager, to have a player of Cahill's experience at his disposal.
N'Golo Kante has conceded that he felt worn out during the season because of Chelsea's heavy workload, but is certain he will be fit for France's World Cup campaign.
The west London club managed to close the gap to within just two points of Spurs - though Mauricio Pochettino's men have a game in hand - as they edged out Swansea City 1-0. Also because I think he deserves this.
"I think in this season our main problem is that we are not so clinical, also today, we had the chances to kill the game".
"In this moment he is deserving to play, because he is playing well", Conte said. "We can see that from a year ago when he managed to get the best out of the players".
Conte added: "We're talking about a player with great experience".
It has led to Conte's key players taking on a heavier workload than some of their rivals.
"I have the opportunity to rotate the three central defenders and make the best decision game by game".