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?
peopleMathematician John Nash inspired the film Beautiful Mind
Richard Blair is concerned the trenches are falling into disrepair
newsGeorge Orwell's son wants to save war site that inspired book
Life and Style
Audrey Hepburn with Hubert De Givenchy, whose well-cut black tuxedo is a 'timeless look'
fashionIt may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
Arts and Entertainment
The pair in their heyday in 1967
Life and Style
fashionFrom bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine