Terry claims United have reached their peak
Wednesday 13 August 2008
John Terry has never been averse to the odd rallying cry and another was issued yesterday with the claim that Manchester United had reached their peak last season while Chelsea were capable of improving – and would do so this campaign.
"I don't think they have got another level to go to," the Chelsea captain said of the League champions and European Cup holders whose manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, has chipped away at their main rivals all summer. "They've had a lot of players in their team who have hit the peak of their form in the last two years. Rio's been awesome. Ronaldo's been unbelievable. I don't think we'll ever see that again. Rooney, Tevez, Giggs at his age – they've all been fantastic."
Losing the Premier League title by just two points, and the Champions League Final to a penalty shoot-out showed, Terry said, that Chelsea are very close to United despite "injuries and changes of manager" and, what he referred to, as "stuff at our place".
That "stuff" included one of the most fractious and chaotic seasons imaginable at a club which, given its ownership and demands, is always going to be close to being a soap opera. Terry claimed the traumas had drawn the players closer together, revealing that, amid the upheavals of Jose Mourinho going, and Avram Grant's brief regime, the squad had often thrashed out their problems behind closed doors and between themselves. "We were a nearly team last year," he said. "We almost won the Carling Cup, almost won the Premiership, almost won the Champions League. We were very close, but at the end of the day weren't good enough."
With the arrival of Luiz Felipe Scolari, however, who has brought a "different mentality" and a more "relaxed" atmosphere there is real hope that matters have settled and aspirations can be fulfilled with Terry referring to the signing of Portuguese international Deco as "awesome". "I never actually realised how good Deco was – I played against him four or five times – but he's probably one of the best I've ever played against and trained with," Terry added. The signing, plus the arrival of Jose Bosingwa and the continued pressing for the capture of Robinho and/ or Kaka means that Chelsea can, as their captain put it, "raise the bar".
Terry was speaking at the launch of a Premier League campaign to show more respect to referees which includes having an open dialogue between captains and officials, removing monitors from team dug-outs to stop the haranguing of fourth officials, and clubs and players signing up to a behaviour charter.
Both Terry and Chelsea have had their difficulties with referees in the past – a fact acknowledged by the 27-year-old yesterday – which exploded with Ashley Cole's petulance towards referee Mike Riley, who was also part of the launch, in last season's meeting with Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane.
"I think it's unfair to pick one person or one club out because we've all committed it," Terry said. "I could show you 100 videos of different players and different clubs committing offences. We've seen the way we want to go: to stop the surrounding of the referees. There are now rules. Last year, was there or wasn't there a rule where you couldn't surround the referee? I couldn't tell you. Now there's a rule. You can't. It's the captain who has that responsibility to go and speak to the referee."
* Chelsea are close to agreeing a deal to allow their 24-year-old defender Branislav Ivanovic to go on a season-long loan to Milan, with a view to a permanent deal. The Serbian arrived from Lokomotiv Moscow in January for £9.7m and hasn't appeared for the first team.
Latest in Sport
Australian Open 2015: Serena Williams vs Dominika Cibulkova match preview
Chelsea vs Liverpool match report: Branislav Ivanovic seals classic encounter with extra-time header to send Blues to Wembley
Chelsea transfer news and rumours: Juan Cuadrado battle; Douglas Costa wants move; Paul Pogba possible
Gabriel Paulista: Talented Brazilian could grow into world-class defender at Arsenal
Floyd Mayweather ends the carnival this week and picks his next fight - but will it be Amir Khan, Manny Pacquiao or Miguel Cotto
- 1 The BBC has just done more to eradicate ‘terrorism’ than all our wars since 9/11
- 2 Does the path to true love really lie in these 36 questions?
- 4 Presidential optical illusion offers clues to how brain processes faces
- 5 Roald Dahl letter warning student to 'eschew beastly adjectives' rediscovered after 35 years
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Louise Mensch says 'F**K YOU' in explosive tweets about David Cameron, Saudi Embassy and the Queen over King Abdullah tributes