The moment lives with him every day and will do so for all time, he revealed last night. But that missed penalty kick in the Moscow mud is also what John Terry believes can drive him on past a painfully familiar European adversary this evening.
Chelsea's fifth spot-kick against Manchester United is hardly the Chelsea skipper's preferred topic of conversation, but the memory was inevitably reawakened when Guus Hiddink's side reached the tournament's now-or-never moments. "That burning disappointment I suffered last year will live with me forever," Terry said. "But the one way I can make that pain ease a little bit is to win this trophy." And integral to his belief that Chelsea can go a step further is the club's changes of management.
"With the manager we have in charge this year we can win it," Terry said – one of several direct references to the club's most significant change of personnel since Moscow. Hiddink's arrival has also created an offensive strength about Chelsea's play which, Terry intimated, was missing in the two league defeats the club have suffered to Liverpool – the 2-1 defeat at Stamford Bridge which ended their 86-match unbeaten home run last October and the 2-0 defeat at Anfield in February which saw Luiz Felipe Scolari to the door.
"Since this manager took over, we've posed a great threat in front of goal and scored in every game bar one – Spurs," Terry said. "If we can keep them at bay at our end, we'll be a big threat up there. The away goal poses a great threat." Another 1-1 draw is not what Chelsea are looking for, the club captain insisted. "We're not going to come here and sit back. That's not the manager's way, or the players' way – though in all honesty that would be a good result."
The threat of Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard, who tore apart Real Madrid at Anfield last month, is obvious. "If you focus on Stevie, Torres will do the damage," Terry said. "Collectively, we have to keep them both at bay."
Rafa Benitez took the bait on Sir Alex Ferguson's claim that the winner of the tie will be United's prime title challenger, though Terry offered a more pragmatic reaction to that statement. "It can work both ways," he said. "The team that gets knocked out will push very strongly for the Premier League. The other will carry the momentum. But both sides are really pushing Manchester United and pushing all the way."
Spoken with the intelligence of a future manager, as Hiddink was quick to point out. "John said it the right way. He will be a very good manager in the future. What he said is true. Let him play for now."
Hiddink, who confirmed Didier Drogba is fit to start and Jose Bosingwa will be missing, has no experience of these colossal all-English knock-out ties but he was clear about what it takes to prevail. "The players know each other very well, so there are no secrets," he said. "They must do some extra. That's exaggerated because the manager doesn't play. The players have to deliver. We prepare, we have prepared for these beautiful end-of-season games – these games are finals, watched by the whole world. We come here not to sit back and wait until we're overcome. That's not the way to play football. That's not my philosophy or the team's concept to play."Reuse content