Terry admits gap left by Bridge

Versatile defender's move deepens tactical headache on flank for Chelsea
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The Independent Football

The Chelsea captain, John Terry, said yesterday the club will miss the departed left-back Wayne Bridge, who joined Manchester City last weekend for £10m, leaving Chelsea with a shortage of left-sided players.

His first-team appearances were restricted by the form of Ashley Cole but Terry, who has been close to Bridge since he arrived from Southampton in the summer of 2003, has voiced his disappointment at the full-back's exit. "He'll be missed and I'm still in shock a little bit, because it's a shame to see one of the lads go who you have grown up with and been with a long time," Terry said. "I'm disappointed but for him it was the right decision.

"We understand he's been here and tried to break in to become a first-team regular but, with him and Ash being the two best left-backs around by far, it was difficult for him to break through and get as many games as he liked. I think he felt at 28 he had come to an age where he needed to play week in, week out, and he will definitely get that at Man City and show people he is right up there with Ash.

"The thing with Bridgey is he could play left-back or left midfield and he is a great crosser of the ball and gets up and down, so we will miss him."

Bridge's departure only adds to the frustration of the Chelsea manager, Luiz Felipe Scolari, who says he cannot partner Nicolas Anelka and Didier Drogba together in attack as he does not have a left-sided player.

Scolari feels that to play a 4-4-2 system, he needs a genuine left winger but, with Florent Malouda injured his options are limited. Bridge, who can play at full-back or left wing, could have filled the void but he was allowed to move on. "I will play 4-4-2 when I have a winger who can play on the left and with his left foot," Scolari said. "When you don't have players with these characteristics it is difficult to adapt one player to play in 4-4-2. Florent Malouda is the only player who can play with his left foot and he is injured. Everyone else is right-footed."

Scolari takes his side to Old Trafford on Sunday and is almost certain to continue with the 4-3-3 formation which has kept them unbeaten on their travels this term. That would effectively rule out Drogba or Anelka as Chelsea look to improve their recent form of just three wins from their last 10 games in all competitions.

The England midfielder Frank Lampard remains upbeat about the club's title chances despite the inconsistent form. Chelsea have lost just twice against Sir Alex Ferguson's side in their previous 16 meetings and boast the best record of any English club at Old Trafford.

"We have dropped a few points lately but have it within our means to beat them," Lampard said. "We have broken down their defence quite a few times over the years. We just have to play our own game. We need to go there with a real air of confidence. We have the players to beat United. We have to show it again."