Terry defends performance levels

Chelsea captain John Terry has dismissed suggestions his form has taken a battering since his alleged affair with Vanessa Perroncel hit the headlines.

Terry was at fault for both Everton goals in their defeat on Merseyside and then allowed Inter Milan striker Diego Milito to score inside three minutes in their Champions League clash at the San Siro.

Terry was then part of a defence that conceded four goals against Manchester City at the weekend but he believes he bounced back to his best in England's 3-1 win over Egypt at Wembley on Wednesday.

"It's a couple of bad results," said Terry.

"A couple of bad results sometimes means a bad performance from me, surprisingly.

"I was pleased with my performance against Egypt. It was important to come out and play the way I did."

Meanwhile, Jose Bosingwa and Michael Essien are struggling to be fit in time for Chelsea's Champions League return leg against Inter at Stamford Bridge in just under a fortnight's time.

Essien has not played for Chelsea since he suffered a hamstring injury against APOEL in December and his problems have been further compounded by a knee problem he sustained while with Ghana at the African Nations Cup.

The 27-year-old had an operation in January but he is currently with left-back Ashley Cole, who is recovering from a fractured ankle, at a sporting injury clinic in France.

Chelsea trail 2-1 to Inter from the first leg of their last-16 tie at the San Siro and it is unlikely Essien will be fit in time for the return encounter against the team led by former Blues boss Jose Mourinho.

Bosingwa is back in light training after knee surgery but still short of match practice. However, Russia international Yury Zhirkov, who missed the first leg with a calf problem, should be fit to play at left-back.

Portugal midfielder Deco, who has been struggling with a knee problem, could be in line for a return against Stoke in the FA Cup quarter-final at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Chelsea's England international Joe Cole insists full-back Branislav Ivanovic should be the club's player of the year even though Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba has 25 goals so far this season.

"You look at a lot of full-backs in teams at the moment and they play like wingers," said Cole. "Just look at Ashley Cole and Branislav Ivanovic in our team. They are as good at attacking as most wingers and I admire a good footballer.

"I think Ivanovic for us is fantastic. If I am going to give someone a mention I am going to give it to Ivanovic.

"He is a great player for Chelsea. I think he has been our player of the year to be honest."