England midfielder Frank Lampard insists John Terry thrives on the kind of vile abuse dished out by Stoke fans during Chelsea's 2-0 FA Cup quarter-final victory at Stamford Bridge yesterday.
Lampard warned fans throughout the Barclays Premier League that taunting Terry will only make him even more determined to fight back.
Terry responded to the abuse by setting up the opening goal for Lampard and then heading the clincher in the second half to set up a Wembley semi-final against Aston Villa next month.
Terry, 29, is still being taunted for the lurid headlines that accompanied his alleged affair with Vanessa Perroncel - the former girlfriend of his one-time Chelsea team-mate Wayne Bridge.
The revelations were bad enough for England coach Fabio Capello to strip the centre-half of the national captaincy. But Lampard insists fans who barrack Terry do so at their peril.
"Sometimes the abuse oversteps the mark," said Lampard. "Strong players react in positive ways and that's what John did. These things happen but we'll just move on. That's a good answer to it really."
Lifting the FA Cup on May 15 would be the perfect answer to Terry's critics, but Lampard knows Villa will be no pushovers.
"Winning the FA Cup this year will mean the same as it always has done for John," the midfielder continued. "You want to look back on your career having won trophies.
"Villa are a good team, we all know that now. They have a few players in the England squad and have great spirit and quality.
"After the disappointment of losing the League Cup final, they will want to go back to Wembley and win something, so it will be tough for us."
Chelsea's involvement in the FA Cup meant Manchester United went back to the top of the Barclays Premier League with a 1-0 victory over Wolves.
United are two points clear, with Arsenal, victors over Burnley, now behind Chelsea on goal difference only.
But Lampard added: "It's important to block that out. People will make a meal out of it but we have a game in hand and just have to focus on winning games."
Terry celebrated his goal by making it clear to everyone he still wears the Chelsea captain's armband - Stoke fans included. He ran to the corner flag after pointing at his armband, then declared afterwards: "I was just giving the Stoke fans a bit of banter. That was all.
"They were giving me a bit of stick and I was just giving a bit back and that is what football is about. They are entitled to do what they do and so am I on the pitch as long as they take it in the right manner. I am sure they did.
"You just get on with it as a player. One way to get through it is to play well and to score was the icing on the cake.
"It has been a good week. It was good to get away with England, play 90 minutes and then come back here and show the fans how disappointed we were by how we played in the 4-2 defeat by Manchester City last week."
Stoke boss Tony Pulis wants his team to bounce back from their FA Cup setback by eclipsing their previous points tally of 45 in the Barclays Premier League.
City have amassed 34 points so far but Pulis wants his squad to make the most of their remaining 11 matches.
"We've got to make sure we get back on track in the league and really drive on in the last 11 games to try to make the most of the back end of the season," said Pulis.
"Can we get more points than we did last year? That's something good for the players to set their sights on.
"I think only one team in the history of the Premier League have accumulated more points in their second season than their first, Blackburn, but the lads have got to get to 40 points first.
"We mustn't take our foot off the pedal."Reuse content