Posted on: Mon 09 Oct 2006

John Terry won not just the race to be Chelsea's first goal scorer of the new campaign, he also won a late race to be fit for the Premiership kick-off.


For the second time in just five days the ever-influential skipper headed his team into a lead following his England goal against Greece. On Sunday at Stamford Bridge his opener complemented a trademark resolute performance in defence - but as Jose Mourinho revealed after the game, there had been a chance of Terry not making the pitch.


"He was injured in training yesterday and I was the only one who was not worried because I know he is such a competitive animal he wouldn't miss the start of the season," observed the manager.


"We'd been training on a few set plays and I started a run and I felt my groin pop a little bit," Terry admitted on Sunday evening. "I had a scan yesterday and it didn't show too much. I had some treatment late last night and I came in for treatment today and I managed to get myself fit for the game.


"I am delighted because I popped up with the first. I want thank the masseurs and the medical team for getting me fit."


Terry was desperate to be on the field to make sure the defence of the Premiership title started on the right track.


"We were aware of the results the day before and that Man United had done very well before we played and it was important for us to get off to a good start. Straight away we have a two point difference over Liverpool and Arsenal and that could be important.


"We wanted to start our game very well and we did that. There was a lot of water on the surface and we managed to move the ball quickly.


"After the Community Shield, maybe a few people said Chelsea are beatable. Any team is beatable but we bounced back and showed the character we have showed the last two years. If we get that character, get the football and get the team spirit we have had the last couple years, we have a very good chance of achieving something special."


by Paul Mason