Chelsea’s supporters were still being held high inside the Dragao Stadium when John Terry emerged from the tunnel to perform a set of sprints and exercises.
Most of those who had witnessed Porto’s 2-1 win in the Champions League on Tuesday had filed out happily into the night.
Those who had made the trip from London rose to greet Terry and launched into a chorus of:
‘We want our captain back.’
The 34-year-old responded with the usual display of mutual appreciation, except this time there was an extra resonance. Terry had been an unused substitute in Porto, as he has been for four of the last five games.
In Porto, Chelsea were far from solid at the back and it is apparent that the Blues are missing his leadership, organisation and composure.
For some reason Jose Mourinho believes that the Blues are better off without their captain. That decision would be easier for fans to understand if Chelsea were winning, or at least defending well.
Equally bewildering for Chelsea supporters has been the sight of Branislav Ivanovic leading out the team in Portugal in Terry’s absence while Oscar, Loic Remy and Radamel Falcao were left behind in London despite being fit, and Eden Hazard and Nemanja Matic joined Terry on the bench.
Media reports are starting to come out that there are concerns inside the dressing room that certain players had been scapegoated.
Terry has so far stayed silent, but the last time Mourinho tried to cut the playing time of Terry he was soon fired. Hopefully the power struggle between the dressing room’s two alpha males won’t end that way this time around, but you get the feeling that something has been wrong since the preseason trip to America in July and three months later the problem(s) have not been solved by Mourinho.