Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho denies rift with captain John Terry
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is adamant his relationship with John Terry is as strong as ever despite the captain's on-field influence showing signs of waning.
The 34-year-old played every minute in the Premier League as Chelsea won the title last term, but is by no means assured of his place against Arsenal on Saturday.
Terry was substituted at half-time in the 3-0 loss at Manchester City, was sent off in the win at West Brom and was an unused substitute in the midweek Champions League win over Maccabi Tel Aviv.
Steven Gerrard, Terry's successor as England captain, suggested relations were strained between Blues boss and skipper, something Mourinho has denied.
But the Portuguese insists he will do what is best for the team and Terry understands that as much as anyone else.
"Last season he played every minute but two seasons ago he didn't and three seasons ago even less. So what's the problem?" Mourinho said.
"He's a player of my total confidence. I trust him as always and he's one of my men. Because he's on the bench one game or because I take him off at half-time, nothing changes.
"For John the situation with me hasn't changed since 2004 (when Mourinho first became Chelsea boss). It is exactly the same.
"I play the player I think is the best for that game, for that moment and John has known that since 2004.
"I don't care what you say, media, pundits. I don't think about the consequences."
Mourinho says it is disrespectful to Terry to suggest a rift with his manager.
"I don't think John deserves somebody to say he has a problem with me," Mourinho added.
"I'm not even speaking about myself, I don't care about myself.
"But I think a top professional like he is and the way he always behaves in this club with me, I don't think he deserves any kind of doubt about what he is as a professional and as a captain in this club."