Terry tells Chelsea to stand up against Stoke

AFP , Saturday 10 Mar 2012

Chelsea captain John Terry has criticised the players at Stamford Bridge for their part in Andre Villas-Boas losing his job as manager last weekend

John Terry
Chelsea captain John Terry

Terry has made a quick recovery from knee surgery and should be available for the Premier League clash at home to Stoke on Saturday having been sidelined for the last seven matches of Villas-Boas's tenure.

The ex-Chelsea manager was accused of failing to win the respect of the dressing room, with England defender Terry admitting players let down the Portuguese coach.

"It's sad for Andre because unfortunately it falls on his head, when I think the players will hold their hands up and say clearly we've not been good enough and we have all made mistakes together," Terry said.

Chelsea, now under caretaker boss and former player Roberto di Matteo, won their first match since Villas-Boas's exit by beating Birmingham in the FA Cup in midweek and are currently three points adrift of a Champions League place.

"We came to Birmingham and dug deep for him (Villas-Boas), and for Robbie (di Matteo) taking charge and for Eddie (Newton) coming in as well," Terry said.

"It's nice to have familiar faces around who know the club.

"We have done enough talking amongst ourselves for the last three or four months, and Robbie came in and said those exact same things as well, we have to show commitment for the shirt.

"He has played here, the same as Eddie, and we have to fight for the shirt and that has been the message to the lads for this game."

Terry returned a month early from knee surgery after initially being ruled out for six weeks and was on the bench at Birmingham.

"I'm delighted because initially they were saying four to six weeks but naturally they're a little bit cautious," Terry said.

"After the operation I was jogging two days later, but it's down to getting over it mentally as well, the fact you've had an operation. Once you're clear of that then you're able to push on.

"The way it's been here, I just wanted to push myself and try to get back involved. I've been working hard in the gym doing triple sessions and going back to Cobham (Chelsea's training ground) in the evenings on my own which has been tough," he added

"But the target was always to be back for the Stoke game so this is a massive boost for me that I can get some more days of training under my belt.

"There is no pain at all and he (the surgeon) said for how long I've been playing, my knee looks in great condition which is an added bonus."

Stoke manager Tony Pulis has lost the last four games at Chelsea but Potters defender Robert Huth, who spent four years with the Blues, claims they can kill the 'curse' on Saturday.

"It's going to be tough but with the result last weekend, sometimes the fans at Stamford Bridge in recent times don't get behind the team as much so hopefully that can work in our favour," Huth explained.

"We've not got a brilliant record there. We lost 7-0 there a couple of seasons ago and anything after that will be an improvement.

"I'm still a Chelsea supporter and I'm sure they will turn it around. They've got 11 games to go so hopefully they can get a run together and get into the Champions League."

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