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Terry happy to bide time

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

Last Updated: 18/02/13 at 15:33 Post Comment

John Terry: Frustrated with his recent injury

John Terry: Frustrated with his recent injury

The 32-year-old defender made just his third start under interim boss Rafael Benitez on Sunday 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.

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.

"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 we are doing that, the fans are happy. That's all they want to see.

"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."

In front of owner Roman Abramovich, who was watching for the first time since the win over Arsenal, Juan Mata and Oscar scored before the old guard weighed in.

Lampard netted his 199th Chelsea goal, closing in on Bobby Tambling's club record of 202, despite continuing uncertainty over his future with his contract expiring this summer.

The "sign him up" chants left Abramovich in no doubt to the fans' preference on a day when Stamford Bridge was bathed in glorious spring sunshine and 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, should Abramovich opt for that brave move this summer - 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.

"When you are playing for 10 years you don't just get selected. You have to play well, train well and impress managers.

"The most frustrating thing was that when Rafa came in, I wasn't fit and I wasn't able to impress him and show what I am about.

"I have got a bit of catching up to do. He has not seen me at 100 per cent.

"I still need a couple of games, that is clear. But if I am called upon all I can do is come in and play well. There is no rift."

Terry has found the injury frustrating, though.

"It has been tough for me because it is the first time in my career that I've had an injury that has kept me out for so long," he said.

"It was a strange injury because the knee hyper-extended back and it stretched all the ligaments at the front and both sides of the knee. It just needed time. I just remained patient."


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