TERRY: IN IT TO WIN IT
John Terry insists there is still all to play for as we enter the final straight of the campaign.
Three wins on the bounce in three competitions have put us in the driving seat for a top-four finish, given us an advantage in the Europa League and put us into the last 16 of the FA Cup.
Terry has so far endured a frustrating season, with a knee injury sustained in November preventing him from action for two months. Since then he has struggled to gain match fitness but an influential display against Brentford, capped with a goal, saw the 32-year-old back to his best, and now he wants to kick on for silverware.
'It's been frustrating because I haven't been playing football. As a footballer you want to play games,' he said. 'The injury just needed time, and that came to light after three or four weeks. I felt stiffness and it still wasn't right so I remained patient and it's been tough. [Now] I'm on the mend and back fit, and delighted to be back in the team.
'We're at a point where we've got nearly everybody fit and we're on a good run at the moment and can maybe push on.'
After being sidelined for so long however, the defender knows it will be a challenge to win back a regular place.
'I'm not silly, I've been out for four months and the other two guys, Iva and Gaz, have been playing really well and both scoring goals as well, so it's going to be difficult for me to get back in' he conceded. 'Naturally I want to play games; the manager doesn't need to ask me that. I'm not one to go and knock the manager's door down, I respect the other players and I have to fight for my place again. I'm no different and I think it's important that comes across.
'When you're playing for 10 years you don't just get selected. You have to play well, train well and impress managers that come in. Most frustrating for me was that when Rafa came in I wasn't able to impress him and show him what I'm about, I was sitting in the dressing room looking out the window at the lads training.
'He hasn't seen the true me, I still need a couple of games, but if called upon all I can do is come in and play well. There is no rift, the team spirit is great here and we've always had a good mentality within the squad.'
Looking ahead we have the second leg with Sparta Prague in the Europa League on Thursday, and Terry is determined to do well in the competition, so long as we return to the Champions League next season.
'This season has been a little disappointing, we've let Man U get so many points ahead of us, but everyone is dropping points and we can still easily get second place,' he pointed out. 'If we can go on a run, with the two boys back from the African Nations, we have a real chance.
'We want to finish as high as we can to compete at the top level. Once we were out of the Champions League we said to each other not to dwell on it and let's go and win the Europa League. Thursday night proved to be a tough game and there are still some big teams left. Ideally it isn't where we want to be but that's why we're pushing in the Premier League to get as high as we can.
'Every year we want to win trophies. When you're knocked out of one you're in it to win the next one. The Europa League, top four, we want to be as high as possible, top two would be great, but every competition we're in, we're in to win, and we have the squad to do that. '