Rafa Benitez and John Terry have both dismissed as “rubbish” reports that they have fallen out over the interim manager's non-selection of the Chelsea captain.
Terry started – and scored – against Brentford, only his third outing since Benitez arrived, and afterwards both insisted their relationship remained strong rather than strained.
“We are surprised today by some comments in a newspaper,” said Benitez over claims the two had fallen out during training. “It is totally rubbish. We didn't have any problem. We were talking just about football with the team. We had a normal conversation.”
Benitez stuck to his recent theme that Terry, an unused substitute for the fifth time in Benitez's short spell in charge for the Europa League tie in Prague on Thursday, faces far greater competition for his place, especially if his troublesome knee prevents him from playing a full part in training.
“He's OK now – in the last two training sessions he was fine and he played today so that is good for the future. There is more competition,” said Benitez. “[Gary] Cahill, [Branislav] Ivanovic, [David] Luiz and him, they have to compete and that is really good for us.”
Terry also called the reports “rubbish”. He added: “The manager knows me and I want to play. I have been out for two or three months, but the other two [centre-backs] have been doing well. It's good to have competition.”
Luiz, deployed in midfield yesterday, apologised after the game for his rash late challenge on Jake Reeves that left the Brentford substitute concussed.
“Jake Reeves is fine,” said Uwe Rösler, Brentford's manager. “He wanted to continue but our medical staff advised safety first. He will be OK. I have not seen the situation clearly enough to make a statement. The player [Luiz] came into our dressing room and spoke to Jake – that is a fantastic gesture.”