John Terry last night accused Wojciech Szczesny and Luiz Felipe Scolari of talking “complete nonsense” about the Chelsea dressing room.
Terry rubbished Arsenal goalkeeper Szczesny’s claim that Andre Villas-Boas’ sacking as manager proved the Blues’ players effectively ran the club.
Former Chelsea boss Scolari also warned Villas-Boas’ successor “hell” awaited him because of the influence of the squad on owner Roman Abramovich.
Blues captain Terry hit back ahead of tonight’s Chelsea’s Champions League last-16 second leg against Napoli, saying: “We win and lose together at this club — we’re all responsible for the results we have.
“As for the senior players running this football club, that’s nonsense. That’s just the perception from outside. Roman and the board make the decisions.
“On the football pitch, that can affect what happens upstairs of course. If we don’t win matches, the board step in.
“People speculating from various different clubs or previous managers, that’s complete nonsense.”
With Terry sitting next to caretaker manager Roberto Di Matteo during last night’s pre-match press conference, it was no surprise to see almost every question posed to the deposed England captain.
This season has been turbulent in the extreme for Terry on and off the field.
Chelsea’s meltdown under Villas-Boas corresponded with Terry facing trial for racism — a charge he denies — and an injury that looked set to rule the defender out until April.
Asked about the difficulties of remaining focused, he said: “I think I’ve shown that with my performances, despite what’s happening off the field.
“I know what I have to do for Chelsea. As captain, I’m very fortunate and privileged.
“If you had said 10 years ago that Robbie and I would be sitting here with such a big night coming up tomorrow, we’d have probably laughed at you.
“But that’s the reality. You won’t find two other people who care more about the football club going into this game tomorrow. We represent Chelsea.
“We give that fiery atmosphere in the dressing room and take it on to the pitch and hope everyone feeds off that.”
Chelsea will need all that and more if they are to become only the fourth club to overturn a first-leg deficit of two goals or more in the Champions League.
The Blues were written off by some after their 3-1 defeat in Naples three weeks ago and Terry admitted reaching the quarter-finals would represent one of his greatest achievements.
“If it all goes well, it could go down as one of the great nights of Chelsea’s history,” said Terry, who was under no illusions over the task at hand.
History is well and truly against the Blues, who have not won any of their last five home Champions League knockout matches.
Terry said: “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. They’ll have watched videos of us and know we can open teams up. We can break teams down and be solid ourselves. But an early goal and a good start would be great for us.”
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