Rafa Benitez has risked opening a rift with John Terry after claiming the Chelsea captain is trapped in ‘a vicious circle’ preventing his return from injury.
The interim manager left Terry on the bench in Prague last night, claiming he had to manage his return from a knee problem but Terry insisted he was ready to start as he left the stadium.
‘During the week he had a setback,’ said Benitez. ‘Then he was fine again and had no reaction in the next training session. But we have to manage the situation. He has to train more with the team and then he will have more options to play.
‘It’s a vicious circle. If he cannot play, he cannot improve his match-fitness but if he can’t train with the team he can’t improve his fitness. We have to manage but in the meantime if Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic are doing really well. Credit to them. I was pleased with both of them.’
Terry injured his knee against Liverpool in November before Benitez arrived at the club. It seemed to be a serious injury at first but scans showed there was no ligament damage and he targeted a swift return.
The skipper declared himself fit but has only started twice, in a 2-2 draw at Brentford and a 3-2 defeat Newcastle. He may be back in the team for Sunday’s FA Cup fourth round replay against Brentford.