John Terry has revealed he was reduced to tears by Chelsea’s failure to win the Premier League title last season, and that the strength of emotion still drives him on this year.
Chelsea were top of the table in February and March but finished third after losing to Aston Villa, Crystal Palace and Sunderland in a surprising spell of poor results. While Jose Mourinho spent much of that time playing down title expectations, Terry admitted how disappointed he was to have missed out on what would have been his fourth league title.
“I was in tears over the Premier League last season, over throwing it away and not winning it, behind closed doors,” Terry said in the aftermath of his 100th Champions League appearance, away at Sporting Lisbon, late on Tuesday night. “It’s emotions, that is what I play for week-in, week-out. I am never scared to show my emotions.”
Terry has been playing Champions League football for 11 years now and is delighted to have played 100 matches in the competition. “For me, the most important thing is not just the 100 appearances but to go and strive to go on and win it again,” Terry said. “But on a personal note I am delighted to reach that many games, it’s a great achievement, I think only 28, 29 players have done it. It’s an honour.”
Terry did not play in the 2012 final, when Chelsea beat Bayern Munich, and although he “counts himself as having won it”, his desire to play a winning role in a Champions League final drives him on.
Terry is confident Chelsea’s summer additions of Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas increase their chances of more European success. He also hailed Nemanja Matic’s increased maturity after the defensive midfielder returned to Stamford Bridge in January following a three-year stint at Benfica.
“They are quality players, unbelievable players, but big characters as well. They’re real men, players with great experience. Nemanja Matic had to come to Portugal and gain experience but came back a completely different player and a man now,” he said.
“We expected Cesc to hit the ground running and he has. With Diego we didn’t know. We’ve seen it before, some strikers take months and months, but he has hit the ground running. He puts himself about but gets up and battles on, and plays with little niggles. That’s what you want. That’s why he’s come to the Premier League, to win.”
Costa has been battling hamstring trouble this season but the forward is confident of being fit to face Arsenal after completing 90 minutes in Lisbon on Tuesday. When asked if he would play on Sunday, Costa said: “[I’m] certain. I played 90 minutes. I do not see a problem. To play 90 minutes suggests I am OK. Every time I play I feel better and it is a decision for the manager as to the best way to recuperate from the injury.”
Costa, who signed for Chelsea for £32m from Atletico Madrid in the summer, is now set to play three games in nine days, and said he can keep any negative thoughts about fitness levels out of his mind.
“Normally I try to forget it during the games so it does not inhibit my performance,” he said. “I try to avoid negative thoughts. You are just thinking about playing in the best way, not worrying about what might happen.
“Every day I feel better. There are a few niggles that are annoying me, but I am working to treat them during the week with the physios and the club’s medical staff.”
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