Team-mates of Terry send Bridge texts of support

Five Chelsea players give City defender their backing for today's confrontation

John Terry may not even have the support of the Chelsea dressing room following Wayne Bridge's retirement from international football after it emerged yesterday that the left-back had been contacted by players from his former club to offer their support.

Sources close to Bridge claim that he has had text messages from five players at Chelsea expressing their support for him in the wake of Terry's affair with his ex-fiancee Vanessa Perroncel. Terry comes face-to-face with his former close friend this lunchtime when Chelsea play Manchester City at Stamford Bridge.

It is also understood that certain City players have told Bridge that they will snub Terry in the pre-match handshakes. Bridge has told friends that he will ignore Terry when he comes down the line of City players. Some of Bridge's team-mates have also said they will do the same, although whether they have the courage to do so in a full stadium in front of the Sky Sports cameras remains another matter.

As the home team captain, Premier League protocol dictates that Terry will lead his team down the line of City players, for what the league's rules call "the official fair-play handshake".

Yesterday, Fabio Capello spoke for the first time about Terry and Bridge and the principles upon which he made the decision to take the England captaincy away from Terry. In what appeared also to be an allusion to Ashley Cole, the England manager said that his players had to be role models and that included their behaviour in their private lives.

Speaking in an interview with CNN, Capello said: "This is another problem, out [side] of my job [remit]. Young children look to these players as an example in life. For that reason, you have to understand that everything that these players do in their personal life is not a good example for children.

"When I met the [England] players for the first time, I told them: 'You have to respect all the people that work with me, around us and the other players. I want the respect all the time. When we are eating, training, working, on the bus - always.' I want respect for the timetable we have, because I don't understand why 25 or 26 of us have to wait for one or two people. It's the respect of the rules. This is normal. Probably it was not the same before."

Capello also acknowledged that the Terry and Bridge saga would be likely to dominate the news agenda next week in the build-up to England's friendly with Egypt on Wednesday. "Yes, I am unlucky because I prefer the normal life, and to speak about football and not the personal life," Capello said. "It will not be easy to speak about Egypt in the next press conference. A lot of questions will be about John Terry, Wayne Bridge and other things around their private life."

Yesterday, the Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti said he was confident Terry remains unfazed by the escalating fall-out from the Bridge saga. "John Terry is still the same in training," Ancelotti said. "He jokes, he is professional and knows when to joke and when to be professional. Are the players making jokes at him? Never. I don't know if they're scared of him.

"In the last matches he made mistakes but everybody can do that. His behaviour was good. I don't see that his performance level has gone down. I think he's in good condition and doing a good job for the team.

"I have always said that we're focused on our players and the job and nothing else. From what I see the players are staying focused and professional.

"They don't have problems playing and maintaining concentration. I've not spoken with Mancini about this [Terry and Bridge saga]. I last spoke to him one month ago. He's the [of the same mind] as me."

Roberto Mancini, the City manager, said that Bridge had told him he wanted to play today, despite the attention that will be on him. "I think that Wayne wants to play and that is normal," Mancini said. "Wayne will play and will play very well. There should only be one motivation and that is to play well for the club. That is his only motivation and it is important."

Mancini said it would be Bridge's decision whether to shake Terry's hand before the game. "I respect him always," the Italian said of his defender.

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