John Terry denies Rafael Benitez rift rumours: 'I'm not one to knock the manager's door down'

Chelsea captain has struggled to get into the starting XI of late

Chelsea captain John Terry has reiterated that he has no problem with Rafael Benitez and he understands he is no longer a certainty to be selected among the starting XI.

There have been reports over the weekend of a rift between the 32-year-old defender and the interim manager, with Benitez apparently blaming Terry for Chelsea’s 3-2 defeat at Newcastle earlier this month.

Terry strenuously denies the rumours but admits his frustration at being unable to show Benitez what he is capable of, report The Evening Standard.

Rumours of a disagreement have rumbled on for some time with Terry named among the substitutes for six of Chelsea’s last nine matches prior to yesterday’s 4-0 victory over Brentford that earned the Blues an FA Cup fifth-round clash at Middlesbrough on Wednesday week.

Terry is widely acknowledged as an influential figure in the dressing room after nearly 15 years as a senior player at the club. But the former England captain insists his omission from the team is a consequence of the need to carefully manage his return from a knee injury and the form of centre-backs Branislav Ivanovic and Gary Cahill, rather than any issue with Benitez.

“I’m not silly, I’ve been out for four months — the other two guys have been playing really well, both scoring as well, so it is going to be difficult for me to get back in,” said Terry.

“People speak about me being upset. Naturally I want to play games. The manager doesn’t need to ask me that question to know what answer he is going to get. I am not one to go in and knock the manager’s door down. I respect the other players.

“David [Luiz] can sit back in there as well so I have to fight for my place, the same as everyone. I think it is important that comes across from me directly. When you are playing for 10 years you don’t just get selected. You have to play well, train well and impress managers. The most frustrating thing was that when Rafa came in, I wasn’t fit and I wasn’t able to impress him and show what I am about.

“I was sitting in the dressing room, looking out of the window looking at the lads training. I have got a bit of catching up to do. He has not seen me at 100 per cent. I still need a couple of games, that is clear. But if I am called upon all I can do is come in and play well. But 100 per cent, there is no rift, the team spirit is great and no one can affect that. We have always had a good mentality and that will always remain.”

Terry did, however, reveal his frustration at what he describes the toughest injury setback of his career, particularly after early scans suggested he would be out for only three weeks.

Having previously developed a reputation for playing through pain, Terry was advised that only rest would cure ligaments strained in an awkward collision with Liverpool striker Luis Suarez at Stamford Bridge in November.

“It was a strange injury because the knee hyper-extended back and it stretched all the ligaments at the front and both sides of the knee,” said Terry. “It just needed time and that came to light after three or four weeks.

“It is not about pushing and wanting to play when the medical team are saying ‘listen, you need a bit more time.’ I felt the stiffness and it still wasn’t right after four weeks so I just remained patient. It has been tough for me because it is the first time in my career that I’ve had an injury that has kept me out for so long.”

Chelsea fans continued to observe the 16th-minute vigil for sacked manager Roberto di Matteo but there was minimal invective aimed at Benitez despite the team making arduous work of seeing off Brentford.

Terry claimed Benitez must accept the pressures that come with the manager’s position but admitted only positive results will change the atmosphere among supporters. “It is not about Rafa, me or Frank Lampard, it is not about anybody,” said Terry. “It is about this football club winning games and if we are doing that, the fans are happy. That’s all they want to see. If that’s with me in the side, great, if not, then I will be their biggest supporter and I’ll sit there and support the team like the fans will.

“If you are losing games, the pressure is on the manager. He has to take responsibility because he is the one who picks the team. So if we are not [winning], as with all managers, it falls on his head, unfortunately. But if we are winning games, and hopefully we can do that, it takes the pressure off him.”

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones