Chelsea boss explains why he left Terry on bench for crucial win over Shakhtar

08:00 08 November 2012

Chelsea

Chelsea's John Terry warms up before the Shakhtar Donetsk game but was left on the bench. Photo credit: Stephen Pond/EMPICS

EMPICS Sport

John Terry was left on the bench for Chelsea’s 3-2 Champions League Group E victory over Shakhtar Donetsk last night because he wasn’t fully match fit.

The former England captain was eligible to play again after his recent four match ban for racially abusing QPR defender Anton Ferdinand.

Blues boss Roberto Di Matteo explained that he was delighted to have his skipper back but that the crucial must-win clash at Stamford Bridge came too soon for the centre back.

The Italian also feels Terry understood the decision to give him a rest.

“Listen, JT is a fantastic player for this club, for our team. He’s got many qualities and I’m very happy that he’s back available for us after the ban,” the Chelsea boss said.

“But considering the last four weeks in his professional life, he has had one competitive game, and I thought we needed players who were 100 per cent match fit for a game like this.

“I’m very glad that he’s back with us now and is available because we will certainly need him.”

Di Matteo added: “First of all, I’m not going to comment on the private conversation with my players, but it’s not easy to tell a player that he’s not starting the game.”

Chelsea were also without Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard because of injury but Di Matteo was delighted with the fight his side showed to keep going until injury time, when Victor Moses bagged the winner, despite being twice pegged back by Willian strikes.

“There was a lot of Champions League experience that wasn’t on the pitch and under normal circumstances you would like them there,” he said.

“Given the tremendous pressure we were under for parts of this game, the players who played deserved huge praise for weathering that. We managed to win the game under a lot of pressure.”

Related articles

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

Latest Chelsea news

Monday, May 4, 2015
Ramires of Chelsea  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

Midfielder Ramires has taken to Instagram to reassure supporters after missing Chelsea’s title-clinching victory on Sunday through illness.

Monday, May 4, 2015
Manager Alan Pardew of Crystal Palace (Photo by Tom Dulat/Getty Images)

Alan Pardew left Crystal Palace “legend” Mile Jedinak out of the starting line-up at Chelsea so he could gauge his other players.

Sunday, May 3, 2015
Eden Hazard of Chelsea celebrates (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Eden Hazard, the best player in the league this season, proved to be the king-maker for Chelsea as they got the three points needed to defeat stubborn Crystal Palace and be proclaimed Premier League champions.

Monday, May 4, 2015
Ex-Arsenal player Cesc Fabregas of Chelsea applauds the crowd(Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

Cesc Fabregas is targeting a Premier League and Champions League double next season after winning his first English championship.

Monday, May 4, 2015
Jose Mourinho the manager of Chelsea  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

Chelsea won the Premier League title after a 1-0 defeat of Crystal Palace on Sunday.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

Competitions

Pop on the most stylish eyewear around from Specsavers.

London eyecare specialists Specsavers are offering London24 readers the chance to win a £150 voucher to spend on stylish eyewear in the city.

Read more

Chelsea Transfer News