That winning feeling spurs Chelsea on, says Terry

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The Independent Football

Their Premiership points total for 2005 will break 100 if they beat Birmingham City today but for John Terry and his Chelsea team-mates, that is not even the most remarkable aspect of their transformation over the last 12 months. The Chelsea captain said yesterday that it was the "winning feeling" that kept their relentless progress on track and that there was yet more to come from his indomitable side.

The Premiership title, the Carling Cup and 98 points over the end of one campaign and the beginning of the next mean that for the Chelsea captain, who plays his 250th game for the club today, it has been a year in which his fortunes as a footballer have been utterly transformed. He described it as the change from being the "maybe club" to the team for whom there are only certainties and, with an 11-point lead promised, only more pain for those in pursuit.

As one of the Chelsea squad who can still remember the agony of chasing Manchester United and Arsenal in previous years, Terry said that his side's Premiership record - only five points dropped all season - would ultimately fray the confidence of the teams behind him. "If we keep winning it will be so frustrating for them," he said. "It was same for us with Arsenal when they had that great season [2003-04]. The belief that you aren't going to catch them slowly kicks in."

Chelsea's loan signing of Maniche, Dynamo Moscow's Portuguese midfielder who served under Jose Mourinho at Porto, is not expected to take place until after the game against West Ham on Monday when he will come to London for a medical. Brought to Porto from Benfica, he was seen as an archetypal Mourinho player - transformed from winger to a holding player - but his star has faded since Mourinho left the club.

Whether Maniche starts for Chelsea will be dictated by how long Michael Essien remains at the Africa Cup of Nations at the end of January and the start of February, but he will have to get used to the winning culture that Terry says now dominates Chelsea.

However monotonous the rest may regard Chelsea's 15 victories already this season, Terry said that his team-mates had come to learn there is "nothing better than the winning feeling. We were always that maybe side before, we would get there but just not enough," Terry said. "We've got that now since the manager's been here, what he's installed, what he's brought to the team. His training methods have been fantastic. He's had a real big part to play in that.

"The way the manager treats his players, he gets the benefit from it because the players want to play for him and want to win for him," Terry added. "When he does things like that, it seems to work.

"I'm always asked how he keeps the players who aren't playing every week happy as well. The key is the way he treats them; the training they do and the belief as well.

"If we were to lose four games, it would be very disappointing. There are other teams pushing us all the way but it's important we keep winning, especially over the Christmas period, when there [are] so many games coming thick and fast. We can really put pressure on the teams below."

For the club captain who has everything, there were no New Year resolutions, apart from a promise that he would do his best to live up to his manager's recent description of the 25-year-old as the best centre-back in the world.

"I don't think I'm the best, I'm still young and I've still got a long way to go," Terry said. "I want to learn, I want to keep playing more and more consistently every week and every season."

Rhythm and Blues: Title-winners in tune

Chelsea have released a CD entitled Chelsea - Players' Top 20, a collection of their all-time favourite ditties. The manager Jose Mourinho shows he likes to rock with "Run To You" by Bryan Adams, while the worst taste award goes to the winger Arjen Robben for Europe's "The Final Countdown".

Shaun Wright-Phillips chose Milkshake by Kelis

John Terry chose So Amazing by Luther Vandross

Ricardo Carvalho chose Fools Gold by The Stone Roses

Michael Essien chose Hard Knock Life by Jay Z

Paulo Ferreira chose In My Arms by Mylo

Joe Cole chose Gold by Spandau Ballet

Robert Huth chose Let's Get It On by Marvin Gaye

Lenny Pidgeley chose You Make Me Wanna by Usher

Eidur Gudjohnsen chose All My Life by K-Ci and Jo Jo

Carlo Cudicini chose I See You Baby by Groove Armada

Didier Drogba chose Back & Forth by Aaliyah

Petr Cech chose I Believe I Can fly by R Kelly

Frank Lampard chose Stuck On you by Lionel Ritchie

Damien Duff chose Joxer Goes to Stuttgart by Christy Moore

Hernan Crespo chose Seven Days in Sunny June by Jamiroquai

Asier Del Horno chose California Waiting by Kings Of Leon

Geremi chose You're Makin' Me High by Toni Braxton

Lassana Diarra chose Breathe by Blu Cantrell

Arjen Robben chose The Final Countdown by Europe

Jose Mourinho chose Run To You by Bryan Adams