Belfast Telegraph

John Terry has made most of season on periphery at Chelsea

John Terry believes spending this season on the first-team periphery at Chelsea is good preparation for management - and not playing has been enjoyable because "I have had my time".

The 36-year-old scored his 67th Chelsea goal on his 716th appearance, and likely penultimate one at Stamford Bridge, in the Premier League champions' 4-3 win over Watford on Monday night.

Terry made his first Premier League start since September 11 at Swansea, having initially lost his place due to injury before Chelsea grew from dysfunctional unit last season to champions this term.

"It has been a new experience but one I have kind of enjoyed," Terry said on chelseafc.com.

"When I say that to people, they don't really understand it. But I am Chelsea through and through and sitting there watching my club go on to do what they have done this year has been fantastic.

"I was sitting there wishing that the boys kept winning and performing well because for me I have had my time.

"It has been a good lesson for me because all of my career I have been in the starting line-up and never really seen the other side of being on the bench.

"But it has certainly served me well for the future when hopefully one day I become a manager."

Terry announced last month he will be leaving Chelsea at the end of the season after 22 years in search of regular football.

Yet after the Watford match Terry said retirement was one of the options he is considering.

He will lift a 15th major honour and fifth Premier League title in Chelsea's final game of the league season against Sunderland on Sunday on his Stamford Bridge farewell.

And a 16th could follow, with Chelsea playing Arsenal in the May 27 FA Cup final at Wembley as Antonio Conte seeks a double in his first season as head coach.

Terry had nothing but praise for former Juventus and Italy boss Conte.

"The manager has been a great example for me to add to my coaching in the future," Terry added.

"Leaving me out the side was probably a tough decision for the manager but he was very honest straight away.

"As a player that is all you want, honesty. You can work as hard as you want, but if the team are playing well and winning you are not going to get back in. And the manager made that clear to me."

Win against relegated Sunderland and Chelsea will become the first team to win 30 league games in a 38-game campaign.

That is the next target for Terry, who expects an emotional conclusion to his Chelsea career.

"It is going to be a really sad and emotional day for me," Terry added.

"But I am delighted with the experiences and the opportunities I have had.

"I was delighted first and foremost to start the game and then to score and win.

"It is important as a group we keep the momentum going into the FA Cup final so we must come back here and win our last home game.

"We haven't come this far to lose now, and what the manager stressed before the Watford game and again at half-time is let's be the first team to win 30 Premier League games.

"Now we need to win our last game at home to Sunderland to do that and we need to keep our winning momentum going.

"(And) the FA Cup final will be brilliant but only if we go and win it."

Conte says the record of 30 wins is keeping his team focused and is looking forward to Terry raising the Premier League trophy aloft.

Conte told Chelsea TV: "We could become the first team to reach this target.

"This opportunity keeps our concentration, keeps our focus very high.

"Now it's very important not only to finish the celebrations, but to continue all this week and to arrive and to play on Sunday against Sunderland, to try to win.

"Then to see our captain, our legend, John Terry, to lift the cup. And to share this moment with the fans, with the players, with the club. I'm looking forward to this moment."

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph