TERRY: OUT OF THE BLOCKS

Posted on: Fri 30 Mar 2012

As the Blues attempt to overturn a two-goal deficit from the first leg, John Terry remains adamant there is more than enough quality in the side to overcome Napoli and secure our place in the quarter-finals.

Interim first team coach Roberto Di Matteo has overseen two successive victories since taking over from Andre Villas-Boas, the team keeping two clean sheets in the process, and with Napoli possessing one of the most potent attacks in world football, Terry knows defence tomorrow is just as important as attack.

'It will be very tough, they scored six at the weekend and we saw over there how good they can be,' Terry admits. 'Defensively we need to be very solid, but at the same time have the players going forward without leaving ourselves too open at the back, so it will be a bit of a mixed bag.

'What will be important is the way we start, to get the fans ready and to make ourselves believe as well. Getting off to a good start, which we had against Barcelona [in 2005], could be a key factor but, if not, we have the patience and experience to know that it only takes a couple of minutes to score two goals.

'I think the players know what we need to do, we should be in a better position in this tie. There's no need for me to say we need to do this and we need to do that.'

Di Matteo has had an instant impact since taking charge little over a week ago and, gradually, the confidence among the players which appeared low following the defeat to West Bromwich Albion appears to be coming back.

As a club who have grown accustomed to performing in the Champions League on a regular basis, there have been some magical nights at the Bridge over the course of the past decade, and Terry believes that with him leading the side on the pitch, and the Italian orchestrating proceedings from the dugout, we couldn't be in safer hands.

'I know what I need to do as Chelsea captain in the dressing room and on the training pitch which I continue to do.

'If someone said 10 years ago that myself and Robbie would be here in these jobs with a big night in front of us, we would have laughed and joked about it.

'But this is the reality, we realise with Chelsea in our blood what it means to this football club and the fans, and no two other people care about the club more than us. What we represent is Chelsea, we need that fiery atmosphere in the dressing room and hopefully everybody feeds off that.

'With regard to older players running this football club,' he added, 'that is not the case at all. That is the perception from outside but Roman [Abramovich] and the board make the decisions, it has nothing to do with us. If we don't win games the board step in and make their decisions but people speculating from different clubs or previous managers is complete nonsense.'

There is no denying that as a club we have certainly endured our fair share of heartbreak in the competition down the years, from the 'ghost goal' at Anfield in 2005, to Andres Iniesta's last-minute strike in 2009, not forgetting Terry's missed penalty in Moscow in between.

The skipper has been a cornerstone of our side through all of those disappointments, but is made of stern stuff, and insists on looking ahead rather than dwelling on what might have been in years gone by.

'I don't think we feel cursed but we have been unfortunate,' he admits. 'To win this tournament you need a quality team and a bit of luck, which maybe we haven't had in the past.

'We still have the quality in abundance and we realise how important tomorrow night is. Robbie and the guys have got us ready for the game off the pitch and it's now in the hands of the players.

'We are the last English side left in, Arsenal pushed it as close as they could but they're out, we are the last side in and we need to maintain that. Napoli are a good side with some good players who will be on the shortlist for a number of clubs. All we can do is focus on ourselves and be ready, which we are.'

To say it's been an eventful season thus far at Stamford Bridge would be something of an understatement, and even the most ardent Blue would admit it hasn't turned out as they would have hoped so far.

On a more positive note there is still a lot of football to be played, and with an FA Cup quarter-final against Leicester to come at the weekend, a win tomorrow night against an impressive Napoli outfit would be the ideal tonic to ensure the season finishes on a high.

'It's difficult when you don't win, as a player you want to win and when you're not winning matches you're not happy,' says Terry.

'I was glad to come back from my operation so early and play the full game at the weekend which did me the world of good. I'm not happy with where we are in the league but there's a long way to go. If we can put a run together we can turn it around, we're still in the FA Cup as well and it could yet be one of our best seasons ever.'

Tomorrow night's game is sold out. However, there are still tickets remaining for Sunday's FA Cup quarter-final against Leicester at Stamford Bridge, priced at £30 for adults and £15 for junior and senior citizens, available in person from the box office, through the call centre on 0871 984 1905 or on this website.