After Chelsea's disappointing season so far, team' s star player, John Terry, opens up in an exclusive interview about the team's future, manager Rafa Benitez and upset fans. Excerpts from the interview:
Q: It seems like a difficult time for Chelsea right now; the fans chanting against the manager Rafa Benitez, anger that Frank Lampard isn't being offered a contract, you being left out of the team sometimes. What do you make of it all?
A: The fans have their opinion. And the players. And the most important thing is the team is winning games. People speak about this but it's not about Rafa, it's not about me, it's not about Frank Lampard, it's not about anybody: it's about this football club winning games. And if we're doing that the fans are happy. That's all they want to see.
Q: Shouldn't the fans back Rafa Benitez, though?
A: That falls on us as players again, because if we're winning games that gets taken out of it. If we lose games, the pressure is on the manager. He has to take responsibility because he is the one that picks the team. So if we're not winning, naturally as with all managers, it falls on their head unfortunately. But if we're winning games, and hopefully as a group of players we can do that, it takes the pressure off him and the fans can concentrate on us winning games.
Q: So what exactly do you make of the situation with Chelsea fans?
A: They pay their money so they’re entitled to echo their thoughts. All we can do is concentrate on our jobs and that’s winning games. If we can do that it completely takes that away. When we do well, play well, we deserve credit and respect. When we don’t we naturally will get criticism. When we get knocked out of competitions, we’ll take it on the chin like men. When we’re winning games - winning and playing well - then everyone is happy.
Q: Would you say it's been a disappointing season over all so far though?
A: A little bit. We've let Man United get so many points ahead of us in the league. But everyone is dropping points at the moment. You say we've had a bad season, but we can still easily get second. If we can go on the kind of run that we're more than capable of doing we've got a real good chance.
Q: At least you are still in the FA Cup and the Europa League. How important is it that Chelsea win one trophy at least this season?
A: I think every year at this football club we need trophies. I’ve got a great record in the FA Cup and long may that continue this year. Everyone knows how much the FA Cup means to this club - we are the holders and we want to keep the trophy. The Europa League we want to win too. Even though we wanted to stay in the Champions League now we're in a different competition, we have to aim to be in the final. We need to finish the season strongly.
Q: So if Chelsea won two cups and finished in the top four would you accept that as a good season?
A: I’ll take that all day long. Absolutely. Top four is a must for this football club and what we want to achieve. We want to finish as high as we can and win trophies.
Q: Chelsea's home record this season has been disappointing, hasn't it? How important to win home games - such as this weekend's match against West Brom - from now on if you want to finish well?
A: Of course. We’ve seen teams like QPR come here, sit back and try and hit us on the counter, other teams too. It's difficult. So we have to remain patient and keep working on what we've been doing in training and it will come. With the quality that we have in Juan Mata and Frank Lampard that can break down defences, it is frustrating for players when two banks of four make it difficult but we'll overcome it.
Q: Personally you've had a difficult time with injuries; the knee problem seems to have taken a long time to heal and even now the manager says you need to get fitter. Has that been frustrating?
A: Naturally, it's been frustrating, because I've not been playing football. As a footballer you want to play games. I've just kept my head down, I've been doing a lot of double sessions late in the gym on my own – stuff like that. I've been eager to get back. The manager realised how important is is to get everyone fit, and we're at a point now where we have got everybody fit. I have had to fight for my place but so has everyone in the team.
Q: So you can find some positives in the current situation? Can the squad cope with all the problems off field?
A: The team spirit is great here, and no one can really effect that – we've always had a good mentality within the squad. And that will always remain the same. So we want to push on and finish as high as possible in the league. Second isn't impossible - as I say we are more than capable of going on a good run. It's what we have to do.
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