TERRY: WE'VE GOT THE SQUAD
As the Blues prepare to take on Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday, John Terry has spoken about the importance of finishing the league campaign strongly and securing Champions League football.
The captain scored twice in Thursday's 3-0 win away at Fulham, a result which saw us go above Arsenal into third in the Barclays Premier League table.
Another tough test awaits on Merseyside, however, and while we face an intense schedule between now and the end of the season, Champions League qualification, as Terry stated, is the minimum requirement.
'It's a must for the football club; for the supporters, for the club moving forward and maybe new signings in the summer,' he said.
'We're obviously in the semi-finals of the Europa League but realistically we want to be playing Champions League football, that's what it's about for this football club. The players that have come here in the last couple of years, that's what they want as well.
'It's a tough run-in and it starts with Liverpool away at the weekend, and we face Manchester United away a couple of weeks after that.
'It's a busy schedule because we play on a Thursday [in the Europa League] and I think we have about four games in 10 days or something like that, but we've got the squad, the manager's rotating and everybody's playing a part.'
Sunday's game sees Rafael Benitez return to face his former employers, a club he served for six years, and his opposite number, Brendan Rodgers, is a man well known to Chelsea supporters having previously managed our reserve and youth sides.
Terry knows the Liverpool manager well, and was impressed with what he saw when Rodgers was at Stamford Bridge.
'He's a great manager and was brilliant for myself and the other players, I can only speak highly of him,' Terry said.
'When Jose [Mourinho] was here he was always around. There were a couple of occasions when I was left out of the side or injured and he'd pull me to one side. He made a nice little video of me scoring goals, making tackles and had a 15-20 minute chat.
'At the time it was something nobody had ever done, and it just goes to show his man-management skills. Little things like that, as a player, give you a boost when you're down, and he was a real gentleman as well.
'He fed off Jose and learnt an awful lot, but you could see he always had it in him to go on. He had a great rapport with the players around the training ground on a daily basis and he speaks different languages which obviously helped.'
Terry insists the run of games we face before the culmination of the season shouldn't necessarily be viewed as a negative.
'For us as a group of players, when the games are coming thick and fast I think that's when we're at our best,' he explained.
'It is a lot of games, but when you're playing you don't really get a chance to think about anything else. You don't train too much, so you lose that side of it, which you can then put into the games.
'It's difficult to balance, but from my point of view I prefer to play two or three games a week, otherwise you get long, drawn out weeks and you end up doing a couple of days of running and feel just as tired.'
The skipper's brace at Craven Cottage in midweek - his fifth and sixth of the campaign - followed a stunning opener by his defensive partner David Luiz.
The Brazilian's assured performances of late have impressed, and Terry believes his team-mate is only going to get better.
'He's done incredibly well this year because he stepped into midfield and has been pulled back in certain games.'
'Against Fulham, it wasn't only the goal. Five minutes after that he stepped into midfield and put Nando [Fernando Torres] through with a 40-yard ball with his left foot.
'He's still learning, he's still very young but he will be a very good player. He pushes the lads and he's like that in training, he demands a lot from himself and the players around him, and it's good for the squad.'