Mour­inho re­vives Terry’s ca­reer

Sunday Express - - SPORT - Lon­don

TWO years af­ter it looked like his Stam­ford Bridge ca­reer was on its last legs, John Terry has been given the vote of con­fi­dence he craved.

The run­away Pre­mier League lead­ers an­nounced on Thurs­day the cap­tain, known as “Mr Chelsea”, had been handed a new oneyear con­tract that will keep him with the club un­til the age of 35.

Manager Jose Mour­inho said the de­ci­sion was not made out of loy­alty or through def­er­ence to long ser­vice but sim­ply be­cause Terry’s per­for­mances mer­ited it.

The cen­tre half has been at his com­mand­ing best this year, a vir­tual ever-present at the back, a pil­lar of lead­er­ship strength and a prize as­set at at­tack­ing cor­ners and free kicks.

The short seven-month ten­ure of Rafa Ben­itez in sea­son 201213 cer­tainly seems a long time ago for Terry, who is play­ing so well this sea­son that he must be a can­di­date for the Foot­baller of the Year award.

“This new con­tract is not to say ‘thank you very much’, it is be­cause John con­tin­ues to per­form,” Mour­inho told the club web­site (www.chelseafc.com).

“He is a top de­fender. I am happy that he com­pletely de­serves this new con­tract af­ter a sea­son where he has al­ready played 40 matches.”

They were dark days un­der Ben­itez for Terry who, for the first time in his Chelsea ca­reer, was not re­garded as a first-choice starter.

The for­mer Eng­land cap­tain did strug­gle with in­juries in sea­son 2012-13 but even when he was fit, Gary Cahill and David Luiz were the pre­ferred op­tions in cen­tral de­fence.

Ini­tial doubts

Terry did not have Ben­itez’s 100 per­cent trust and back­ing but that quickly changed when Mour­inho re­turned for a sec­ond stint in charge at the be­gin­ning of last sea­son.

The out­spo­ken Por­tuguese ac­knowl­edged he had ini­tial doubts about the skip­per who served him so well when the pair linked up for suc­ces­sive Pre­mier League ti­tle vic­to­ries in 2005 and 2006 but they were soon dis­pelled.

Terry, for his part, said Mour­inho has al­ways known which but­tons to press from the mo­ment he first came to Stam­ford Bridge in 2004.

“He made a mas­sive im­pact on the club, for sure. He made a group of play­ers, good play­ers at the time, feel like we were the best in the world,” said the 6-foot-1 (1.87-me­tre) de­fender.

“Whether we were or not, we felt it...you could im­me­di­ately tell he knew how to draw the best out of ev­ery­one. It’s just inspiring and, for me, there’s no bet­ter at drawing the best out of peo­ple than Jose Mour­inho.

“He knows what makes me tick. He knows if I make a mis­take he can tell me, some play­ers you can’t. It’s about han­dling dif­fer­ent play­ers dif­fer­ently and he does it su­perbly,” said Terry.

Mour­inho has al­ready bagged the League Cup tro­phy ear­lier this month and the next task for manager and cap­tain is to pre­serve their six-point lead at the top of the ta­ble and go on to cap­ture Chelsea’s first Pre­mier League crown since 2010.

Be­yond that Terry, who is third on the club’s all-time list with 661 ap­pear­ances, will hope his legs can keep go­ing long enough for him to sur­pass Peter Bonetti (729) and Ron Har­ris (795). — Reuters

JoHn Terry has been in pro­lific form for Chelsea

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