Terry will be focused for Chelsea v Manchester City: Ancelotti
Carlo Ancelotti insists John Terry will not be distracted by the controversy over whether Wayne Bridge will shake his hand when Chelsea meet Manchester City at Stamford Bridge today.
But the Chelsea manager admitted the publicity surrounding the situation was unique in his footballing experience.
City full-back Bridge quit the England national side on Thursday after deciding that professionally and personally, he could not deal with working with a former friend and team-mate who is alleged to have had an extra-marital affair with his estranged partner and mother of his son.
Today is the first time the two will have met since the scandal broke but Ancelotti said: “John Terry is a professional. He doesn't have a problem to look forward, to stay focused on the match.
“He has a very good mentality. He has had a fantastic season and he will do the same until the end of the season.
“I'm sure tomorrow will be Manchester City against Chelsea (rather than Terry v Bridge) so we have to pay attention, we have to stay in focus. Manchester City is a very good team. They have a lot of good players with strong quality, we have to think about this.
“No way will it distract the team. I don't know how many people are interested in this. For sure not the players.”
But he did admit: “In Italy we have never had anything like this.”
And Roberto Mancini has urged Bridge to blank out the torment that is bound to be swirling through his mind when he comes face to face with Terry.
“I am sorry for Wayne and for England because it is important for any player to play for the national team,” said Mancini.
“He didn't speak to me before he made the decision. I don't know what has changed, but he has changed his decision because I thought that he would play for the national team.
“But I respect what he has done.
“He is a strong character, who has a strong mentality. Tomorrow Wayne must only think about the game because it is an important match for us.”
It could be argued Bridge needs to face his demons. Once the game is over then Fabio Capello might get his wish and the former Southampton star will reverse his decision to turn his back on the England cause.
However, if Bridge remains resolute, it would seem somewhat unfair that he should be the one missing out rather than Terry, who has been stripped of the captaincy by Capello but is set to be named in the squad for Wednesday's meeting with African Nations Cup winners Egypt.