CHELSEA captain John Terry came under fire this season long before the harsh spotlight tunred on his manager, Jose Mourinho. But before Chelsea’s latest European sortie, his mask slipped – and he had a pop back at one of his accusers – ex-player and BBC pundit Robbie Savage.
In a nutshell, Terry reckons Savage is not qualified to lace his boots, let alone criticise his form. The postcript to this tale is that mouthy Savage, predictably, had a pop back – but not before the Chelsea captain firmly put him in his place.
In company with most of the rest of Chelsea’s squad, 35-year-old Terry has suffered a dip in form in comparison to last season where he played every minute of every Premier League game as Chelsea won the Premier League title with some ease.
This time around, however, Chelsea and Terry are pale shadows of their old selves and struggling in 15th place with just 11 points from 11 matches. Their standard-setting defence of last season has crumbled with Chelsea already running up 22 in the goals-against column. That is only 10 fewer than they conceded in the whole of last term.
So Terry has found himself under the the most fierce scrutiny and was infamously hauled off at half-time of the embarrassing 3-0 defeat at Manchester City in August, long before Mourinho’s job was remotely up for debate.
“I’ve come under criticism, individually, from certain players and individuals, players I’ve looked up to, played alongside,” Terry said in a pre-match press conference before Chelsea face Dynamo Kiev on Wednesday.
“I’ve taken that on the chin, 100 per cent. The likes of Rio [Ferdinand], Carra [Jamie Carragher], [Gary] Neville, the very best that I’ve seen and come across in the game.
“I sit there and listen and take everything in and try and prove that. I don’t look at that in a negative way.
“When certain other people speak, maybe not, maybe I don’t like listening and taking it on the chin. When players have not had a career, have played at a really bad level throughout their career and come for people who have achieved what I have achieved in the game.”
Terry was warming to his theme. He clearly had someone in mind, someone who had played at a level he clearly reckoned was a rung or two below his own high standards. He was looking for someone in the cross-hairs of his sights. He was looking for Savage…
“Robbie Savage being one,” he added, chuckling. “He’s dug me out a couple of times.
“You take it as a footballer, as an individual. I’ll take it all day long from the very best, the Rios, Carraghers and Neville. All day long I’ll take it.
“From other people? No.”
Chew on that, Mr Savage.
And he did – then spat this back:-