Carlo Ancelotti hailed captain John Terry as the “symbol” of his team after seeing his new club Chelsea win their first outing under his command in a 2-0 victory over the Seattle Sounders.
Chelsea started their tour of the United States with a competitive friendly over Major League Soccer's newest team in front of 65,289 fans at Qwest Field and ahead of next week's pre-season tournament against AC Milan, Inter Milan and Club America.
England captain Terry, the subject of intense transfer speculation following a bid from Manchester City, retained the skipper's armband as Ancelotti sent out his first side since taking over from Guus Hiddink at the end of last season.
First-half goals from teenage debutant Daniel Sturridge and Frank Lampard were enough to see off a Seattle side led by Freddie Ljungberg in their inaugural MLS season.
Continuing the London club's bid to persuade Terry to reject City's advances and stay at Stamford Bridge, new boss Ancelotti said: “John Terry is a great man, a quiet man and he is a symbol of this team.”
Having used 21 of the 27 players that made the trip across the Atlantic, the former AC Milan coach declared himself satisfied with his squad's efforts in their opening pre-season fixture.
“I learned that on one hand we have a very good team that works very well,” Ancelotti said.
“Sometimes we can make a mistake but not all the time. The players were concentrated.
“I like this because normally in the first game we can't make a mistake, it is important to work hard and want to improve.
“We want to improve and we will improve for the next game. For the first game I am happy.”
Goalscorer Lampard praised the level of opposition provided by Seattle, who caused the Chelsea defence numerous problems throughout the game.
“The game was pretty even really, except for the two goals we scored, which might be the slight difference in quality from the Premier League to here,” Lampard said.
“Seattle tried to play good football and created some good chances. They were unlucky not to score.”
Meanwhile, the Premier League yesterday confirmed they had received no official complaint from Chelsea over Manchester City's pursuit of Terry, as Mark Hughes continued his public courtship of the England captain.
With Emmanuel Adebayor yesterday joining a summer influx of talent to Eastlands which already includes Carlos Tevez, Roque Santa Cruz and Gareth Barry, City boss Hughes must now focus on his defence.
The Chelsea skipper has been identified as his number one target and an offer of around £30million was recently turned down.
“It's well documented that we put in a bid and that was rejected,” Hughes said.
“He's a player I know, I played alongside him at Chelsea and I admire him as a person and captain from afar.
“He's obviously the type and calibre of player we need if we are going to progress and compete at the top level.
“Chelsea have come out very strongly, in no uncertain terms, saying that he's not available, so we have to reflect that position because John is very much a Chelsea player.
“But we need to address the defensive strength of our side and we'll look at all options.”
Hughes' latest public outpouring of admiration for Terry is unlikely to go down well at Stamford Bridge, with reports suggesting the Londoners were ready to lodge an official complaint with the Premier League for alleged ‘tapping up'.
Hughes claimed City would back off if Chelsea continue to rebuff their approaches.