Terry orders Chelsea flops to 'man up'
Published 23:00 21/02/11 By Darren Lewis
Cometh the hour, cometh the man.
With Carlo Ancelotti facing his potential Waterloo, John Terry stepped up to rally the Chelsea troops, ordering his team-mates to ‘man up’ to save their manager’s job in what he concedes is their last realistic chance of a trophy.
On far too many occasions this season Ancelotti has had to face the music alone. On far too many occasions the Italian has had to explain away the tinkering above him and the underachievement below.
The run that has seen last season’s Double winners win just six of their last 19 games in all competitions since Ray Wilkins was sacked in November.
And the FA Cup exit with a whimper to an Everton side that had previously not beaten a Premier League side away from home for 21 years.
Terry, however, showed Chelsea fans what they needed to see last night. He showed how much it hurt to have the Blues’ air of invincibility shattered.
He showed how much it hurt to have the club’s mentality of champions questioned. He revealed his own personal anguish at the Premier League surrender which has left the club 12 points behind Manchester United.
And he addressed the alarm felt by many Stamford Bridge supporters at the fact that Chelsea may now need to win the Champions League outright to get back into the competition next season.
Make no mistake, a Copenhagen side that have never lost a Champions League tie at home are now a huge obstacle to a Chelsea team that have now failed to score within 90 minutes for three successive games.
Terry last night called on his comrades to show they have the heart for the battle.
He said: “It now needs to come. At times we’ve had players out through injury and we’ve missed big characters at times in the season.
“But it’s down to myself, Frank[Lampard] and Didier [Drogba], and the rest of the squad who have a responsibility, to look at their own form and characters and deliver.
“We’ve always come out the other end. We aim to stay together as a team and start winning games sooner rather than later.
“People come up with things and try and find a problem at the club. Fernando Torres has come in at the end of the transfer window. He’s given the players a real lift as we feel we’ve missed out with a couple of players. David Luiz, too. He’s gone unnoticed with his £20m price tag. He’s the future of Chelsea.
“I don’t think Ray Wilkins leaving destabilised us. Ray was a massive asset to this club and brought an awful lot. But it was a decision that the owner made. We accepted it and moved on.
“We went through a bad spell last year. You get the people saying the squad is past it’s best, and then we win the Double. No one apologises for the statements they made. We’re a year older, but that doesn’t take away the quality we have.
“We’ve had some tough times. I’ve been here a long time and seen the good and bad times. Its part and parcel of being a player. You want to improve where we are in the league - we owe that to the fans and the club. We’re not giving up.”
Should Spurs and Manchester City win their Premier League matches over the next six days, defeat in the League to United next Wednesday will leave Chelsea five points off fourth.
Terry added: “Mathematically, we’re possibly out of it a bit, but we can have a big say. If we can beat Manchester United, we have to play them again and could be right back in it.
“If we’d beaten Liverpool earlier this month we could have gone on a good run and got back into it. But now we have to man up a bit and, as a group of players, take responsibility.
“Not winning games. Any game, any training session, everyone gets frustrated. That’s what we’ve still got: hunger and desire. We missed out on the Premier Leauge for three years when United won it. That’s what I lose sleep over, watching other clubs lift trophies.
“The worst thing to think about is looking at Spurs and City, and seeing they are playing well and picking up points. That would be disastrous for the football club if we didn’t qualify for the Champions League.
“It’s hard to get my head around. It’s still not over. We’ve got a small chance and we’re going to keep fighting. If we lose to United, it could be over. But then we’ll have to fight for a top three.
“At times we’ve played very well. We created chances against Everton and could have - and should have - killed the game off. But we let them back in at the last minute and we’ve done that too many times.
“Now It’s about believing ourselves again, chasing the next goal and killing games off. We need to restore the confidence in the squad because we’ve certainly got the players.”
Terry could have bottled it, left it to someone else to spout bland platitudes to the media last night and enjoyed the West Ham game. Instead he led from the front.
Blues fans will be hoping tonight that his team-mates follow his example.