Chelsea captain John Terry thinks his critics are “lazy” to assume he lacks the pace to remain a top-class defender in the Barclays Premier League.
The long-serving Blues centre-half was a pivotal presence in the Blues’ title triumph last season, playing every minute, but has been part of a backline that has looked fragile this term.
He was memorably taken off at half-time in the defeat to Manchester City after a poor 45 minutes trying to contain Sergio Aguero, leading some to assume he has lost some of the edge that made him one of the league’s best defenders.
But in an interview with the Daily Mail, the 34-year-old said of his detractors: “That’s lazy, isn’t it? You get to a stage and people say ‘that’s wrong’ but they don’t back it up.
“You know your legs aren’t gone. It takes a little bit longer to recover but when you’re ready and the adrenaline pumps in, you are fine. I’ve never been quick.”
On being substituted at the Etihad Stadium in August, Terry added: “Listen, you take it in your stride. I was more shocked than anything. But I took it and went out to watch the second half. I’ve got that mentality where you go in the next day, work your socks off and think to yourself ‘right, I’ll show you’.
“There is no point moaning, sulking or staying in the dressing room. That’s not me. I’ve got to where I am in my career by fronting things up. So I did and I knew, sooner or later, he’d (Mourinho) put me back in.”
Terry retained his place in the starting line-up the following week against West Brom only to be sent off, and his form remains patchy.
His struggles have coincided with Chelsea’s dreadful start to the defence of their title, with the Blues currently 14th, 14 points adrift of leaders City.
Terry, though, still has plenty of faith in Mourinho, who for now still has the backing of the club’s board.
Terry added: “His stability is massive for the club going forward. What the club have done is set a precedent and said ‘he’s the man to take us forward’. He will do. This squad of players won the league last season. There is no difference. It’s a bad run of form.
“It’s not different. The league table says it’s different but it isn’t. If you look for stuff (that is wrong) you will find it. You could sit there after a game and find a million things. I’d prefer to say ‘s*** result, let’s just move on’. The quality is there, everything is there.”