Antonio Conte says that John Terry will be a “serious loss” to Chelsea when the centre-half finally leaves the club at the end of the season, as much for what he can contribute off the pitch to the club’s future, as what he has done on the pitch in the past.
The 36-year-old’s pending departure was announced on Monday, with Conte saying that part of the reason was that he could no longer guarantee regular football to a player who still feels he can contribute much more.
Terry has made just five appearances in the Premier League this season, although the manager praised his influence as a “great captain” on a squad that is currently four points clear at the top of the table and aiming for a double as they face Tottenham Hotspur in Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final.
Manchester United 2 Chelsea 0 player ratings
Manchester United 2 Chelsea 0 player ratings
1/22 David de Gea - 6 out of 10
Rarely tested. Impressive under the high balls and in his distribution.
2/22 Antonio Valencia - 7
Solid all round performance from him. Strong going forward and assured on the back foot. Physically impressive too.
3/22 Eric Bailly - 7
COmposed under pressure, read the game brilliantly and made all the right decisions. Excellent defensive display.
4/22 Marcos Rojo - 6
A gritty and fiesty display. Battled hard against Costa and largely kept his cool while the Spaniard repeatedly lost his.
5/22 Matteo Darmian - 6
Kept Pedro under wraps and limited the wingers' influence for much of the game.
6/22 Ander Herrera - 8
Demonstrated fantastic vision to play in Rashford for United's goal. Hard-working as ever. Shame about the yellow card but completely ran the game today.
7/22 Marouane Fellaini - 7
United's battering ram. Strong in the air, firm in his challenges and excellent at breaking up play. Dominated against Kante too.
8/22 Paul Pogba - 7
A rounded, mature performance from the Frenchman. May not have threatened as others did but kept the United midfield ticking over with his constant passing and movement. Still missing that 'wow' factor though.
9/22 Ashley Young - 7
Another hard worker who dug deep to give 100 per cent today. Made some encouraging runs going forward and was vital in the build-up to United's second.
10/22 Marcus Rashford - 8
FUll of confidence and energy. Used his pace to devasting effect and proved to be too much for the visiting defence at times. Showed today what he's truly capable of.
11/22 Jesse Lingard - 7
Complimented Rashford to a tee. Excelled at getting in behind United's backline and provided a reliable outlet throughout.
12/22 Asmir Begović - 6
Could have maybe done more for the first goal but unlucky about the second. Made some important saves to keep the score down.
13/22 Kurt Zouma - 5
Stepped in to replace Marcos Alonso which subsequently disrupted the balance to Antonio Conte's team. Looked out of place.
14/22 David Luiz - 5
Guilty of costly mistakes and, rather surprisingly, was overpowered at times by Rashford. A shadow of the player he has been this season.
15/22 Gary Cahill - 4
Completely dropped his guard for United's second. Struggled to match Rashford for his pace and made multiple sloppy mistakes. An afternoon to forget for him.
16/22 Victor Moses - 4
Anonymous and largely ineffective. Hauled off around the hour mark for Cesc Fabregas.
17/22 N'Golo Kanté - 6
Showcased his ability to drive into space on a number of occasions but was overwhelmed physically throughout the match by Fellaini.
18/22 Nemanja Matic - 5
Struggled defensively and seemed out of his depth. Couldn't deal with the United set-up.
19/22 Cesar Azpilicueta - 6
Pushed forward down the flank and provided his team-mates with a reliable source of deliveries. Defensively, he enjoyed a better display than the rest of the Chelsea back line.
20/22 Pedro - 5
Enjoyed a few half-chances but was subdued and lacked any real dynamism.
21/22 Eden Hazard - 6
Missed that magic touch today. Was played out of the game by Herrera. Occasionally threatened with his quick feet but it wasn't to be.
22/22 Diego Costa - 5
Bullish but another disappointing performance. His quality on the ball and in front of goal deteriorated as his composure faded throughout the game.
“I’m repeating I think in every press conference that John, he is for me, in my first season, he is very important because he’s helping me on the pitch, off the pitch,” Conte said.
“For us he’s a great captain. The problem is that John wants to play regularly and for this reason I think that we have to respect his decision, because I was a footballer and I know when you arrive at this point in your career, and your mind and your body told you continually, you feel you can continue but you want to play regularly, it’s right to continue. Because when you finish… we have to respect his decision.
“If you ask me is he a serious loss for next season, yes I think so. Because I’m seeing what John is doing this season and I repeat for the changing room, for this moment of Chelsea, we are building the foundation, a player like John Terry is very important for us.”
Conte refused to say whether Terry would start the semi-final, though, despite the injury doubts over Gary Cahill. The Italian hinted that he is not a direct replacement, as Cahill recovers from a bout of gastroenteritis.
“This is a semi-final and in this season I know we tried to have in every position two options, and usually the player that usually plays and another player. I think the right position for John when we play with three central defenders is in the central position where David Luiz is playing.
“I have to make the best decision for the team tomorrow, but we will try a different solution.”Reuse content