Mourinho: Terry was over
Jose Mourinho thought John Terry was "over" prior to returning to Chelsea, with the pair each benefiting from the captain's rejuvenation.
Terry's influence was waning under Andre Villas-Boas, Robert di Matteo and Rafael Benitez, before the 34-year-old was revitalised by the return of his former mentor in June 2013.
The 34-year-old thrived in Mourinho's first season back, but has fared even better this term, playing every minute of every Premier League game to be spoken of as the leading defender in the top flight. He will lift the trophy on May 24 after the game with Sunderland.
"I thought he was in trouble. I thought he was over," said Mourinho, speaking ahead of Monday's match at West Brom.
"He hadn't played for the previous two years, two or three consecutive matches.
"He was not an option for the managers. He was injured. The managers preferred many other payers in front of him.
"I thought there was something wrong and that he couldn't get back to his normal level.
"I think he knows that, without me, he probably wouldn't be at Chelsea in this moment. But I also know that, probably without him, I wouldn't be again Premier League champion.
"Probably, with another manager he wouldn't play. And without playing he wouldn't have another contract.
"This is not about the club, but the managers. If the managers don't want the player, and the player doesn't play, the club has to open the door.
"If a player is not important, sooner or later he leaves.
"Under me, he has had already two new contracts."
Terry was in the final year of his contract in the 2013/14 season, but vowed to prove himself to returning boss Mourinho and was rewarded with a one-year extension 48 hours after the season concluded with Chelsea in third place.
This term, with the Blues on course for Mourinho's third and Terry's fourth Premier League title, a contract extension was signed in March. It is club policy to give those over 30 only a 12-month extension.
The trophy was secured six weeks later, with Terry, amid the celebrations, pointedly referring to Benitez having written him off.
Mourinho, on his return to Stamford Bridge, was initially surprised by Terry's condition as, watching from afar from Italy and Spain, where he managed Inter Milan and Real Madrid, he thought the defender's career was coming to a close.
"He started pre-season with us. He feels very good with that kind of work we do," Mourinho added.
"I always thought he was going to improve and I'd have a good player. But, in the end, he came to a fantastic level. He's had a magnificent season."
Terry has retired from England duty and while Mourinho does not wish to discuss the matter, which is shrouded in controversy, he believes the defender remains capable of playing at international level.
"He's in conditions to play international football," Mourinho said.
"I think it's just a decision based on other issues and factors that I didn't want to interfere with or give any opinion. Just respect his decision, and that of Roy (Hodgson) and the FA."