Chelsea captain John Terry defends giving directions during Champions League tie


John Terry has attempted to end once and for all speculation he has a say over first-team affairs at Chelsea.

Blues captain Terry last week branded suggestions he and other senior players ran the dressing room at Stamford Bridge as "complete nonsense".

Twenty-four hours later, during Wednesday night's historic Champions League win over Napoli, the defender was pictured barking orders from the bench after hobbling off the field.

That sparked fresh rumours the 31-year-old was exceeding his authority, but he has denied this, insisting caretaker boss Roberto Di Matteo is the only man in charge.

He said in the Evening Standard: "In response to comments suggesting that I think I'm the manager, I'd like to say Robbie has stepped up and been immense.

"I am Chelsea through and through, whether I am on the pitch or off it.

"Had I still been on the pitch, I would have been saying the same things that I was from the bench.

"That is my role as captain of this club.

"Just because I have come off the pitch, it doesn't mean to say my mentality changes.

"People might see it in the wrong way, but I care about this football club - we all do - and Robbie and his backroom staff deserve full credit."

Terry is set to return from injury in tomorrow's crunch Barclays Premier League clash with Tottenham.

The defender has faced Spurs countless times but one man who is a relative novice when it comes to the derby fixture is winger Juan Mata.

The 23-year-old, whose first taste of the fixture came at White Hart Lane in December, said: "I knew that they were rivals, but I didn't know that they were rivals with such intensity.

"From the game at White Hart Lane, the other players and the fans, I quickly found out what a passionate game it is."

Di Matteo today admitted Chelsea's bid to finish in the top four would be all but over if they lost tomorrow.

Mata said: "We find ourselves in a position in the league which we want to improve, and therefore we need points.

"We have to strive to get third place in order to qualify for the Champions League next season."