Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Terry happy to bide time on subs bench

John Terry admits he faces a challenge in getting regular games owing to injury

Chelsea captain John Terry is adamant he is happy to sit on the substitutes' bench, if it is what is best for the team.

The 32-year-old defender on Sunday made just his third start under interim boss Rafael Benitez and scored the fourth goal as the FA Cup holders claimed a 4-0 win over Brentford to set up a fifth-round clash at Middlesbrough a week on Wednesday.

"It is not about Rafa, me or Frank Lampard, it is not about anybody," said Terry, who denied a report of a bust-up with Benitez. "It is about this football club winning games and if that's with me in the side, great. If not, then I will be their biggest supporter and I'll sit there and support the team like the fans will."

Terry suffered a knee injury prior to Benitez's appointment and a setback saw him miss the defeat of Wigan before he was an unused substitute, for a fifth time under the Spaniard, in the Europa League win at Sparta Prague.

The former England captain could yet return to the bench for Thursday's second leg with Sparta, with Sunday's Barclays Premier League clash at Manchester City the priority as Benitez bids to fulfil his brief of Champions League football next term.

Benitez, with a third successive win, continued to turn the momentum following three wins in the previous 10 games. Due to the Spaniard's association with Liverpool, he will likely never be a popular appointment - be it on his current caretaker basis or permanently - but Benitez has Terry's support.

"If you are losing games, the pressure is on the manager," Terry said. "He has to take responsibility because he is the one who picks the team. So if we are not [winning], as with all managers, it falls on his head, unfortunately. But if we are winning games, and hopefully we can do that, it takes the pressure off him."

Terry hopes to play his part in the season run-in, but knows he cannot demand a place in the side, given the form of Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic, plus the option of David Luiz, who Benitez appears to view more as a defensive midfielder.

"I'm not silly," Terry added. "I've been out for four months - the other two guys have been playing really well, so it is going to be difficult for me to get back in. Naturally I want to play games; the manager doesn't need to ask me that question to know what answer he is going to get.

"I am not one to go in and knock the manager's door down. I respect the other players. I have to fight for my place, the same as everyone. I think it is important that comes across from me directly."

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