Skipper quells talk of player power and calls for unity ahead of Champions League salvage mission
CHELSEA 1 vs NAPOLI 3
CHELSEA captain John Terry believes a recent change of management has provided the club with the impetus and momentum that will propel them past Napoli this evening and into the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
The Seria A side, who earned a highly creditable draw away against Manchester City in the group stages, arrive in west London confident of protecting a two-goal lead from a first leg which contributed to the sacking of Andre Villas-Boas a fortnight ago.
Although Terry accepts the players must shoulder a large proportion of blame for the Portuguese’s demise, he rubbished recent suggestions from Arsenal’s Wojciech Szczesny and his former boss Luiz Felipe Scolari that Chelsea’s senior players run the club.
“We couldn’t seem to buy a win, [then] we changed managers and we get two wins,” said Terry. “Roberto [di Matteo] and Eddie [Newton] have come in and obviously we’ve done very well in the first few games and it’s the momentum that we’ve maybe missed coming into these big Champions League games.
“We’re all responsible for the run of results. Unfortunately for Andre it fell on his head. But I think the players would also hold their hands up and say, ‘performance-wise, we are to blame as well’.
“As for the senior players running this football club, that’s nonsense. That’s just the perception from outside. Roman [Abramovich] and the board make the decisions. People speculating from various different clubs or previous managers, that’s complete nonsense.”
Chelsea have failed to win any of thier five previous home knockout matches in the Champions League and Terry is aware of the size of the task ahead against a side who scored six at the weekend, despite resting their star striker Edinson Cavani.
“If it all goes well, it could go down as one of the great nights of Chelsea’s history,” said Terry. “It’ll be very tough. Seeing their last game, too, when they won 6-3, defensively, we need to be really solid. It’ll be a balance, and communication will be key.”