Rafa Benitez has risked opening a rift with John Terry after claiming the Chelsea captain is trapped in ‘a vicious circle’ preventing his return from injury.
The interim manager left Terry on the bench for Chelsea’s Europa League match yesterday, claiming he had to manage his return from a knee problem but Terry insisted he was ready to start as he left the stadium.
‘During the week he had a setback,’ said Benitez. ‘Then he was fine again and had no reaction in the next training session. But we have to manage the situation. He has to train more with the team and then he will have more options to play.
‘It’s a vicious circle. If he cannot play, he cannot improve his match-fitness but if he can’t train with the team he can’t improve his fitness. We have to manage but in the meantime if Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic are doing really well. Credit to them. I was pleased with both of them.’
The Chelsea captain disagrees with the assessment of his manager, telling media in the mixed zone after the game:
“I am feeling good and strong. I am ready to face Brentford on Sunday.”
Terry injured his knee against Liverpool in November before Benitez arrived at the club. It seemed to be a serious injury at first but scans showed there was no ligament damage and he targeted a swift return.
But that has not been the case and the Chelsea skipper has only started twice for Chelsea since then.
Terry has struggled with injuries over the last couple of seasons and he has to be wondering about his future at Chelsea. Terry’s current contract is up at the end of next season and the club don’t seem inclined to offer him a new deal.
Terry has been a huge part of Chelsea’s success since Roman Abramovich bought the club. But as he enters the twilight of his career, is he wiling to become a bench player for the next 16 months or will he try and force a move away from Stamford Bridge this summer?