Terry’s Fear is His Future Involvement in European Cup Semi-finals

At the end of this enthralling European Cup semi-final second-leg, John Terry broke into tears, staring desperately into the Matthew Harding stand. Tiago Cardoso, Terry’s former Chelsea colleague, and Atlético captain for the evening, consoled the skipper, easing his sense of regret.

In his programme notes, Jose Mourinho had demanded the “game of our lives” but his defence, which have so often executed his instructions to perfection, produced uncharacteristic errors throughout. Terry knows the hugely detrimental away goals scored by Adriàn López, Diego Costa and Arda Turan could have been prevented.

For Adriàn’s opener, Ashley Cole and Eden Hazard’s lazy dealing of Juanfran’s marauding run was compounded by Terry’s half-hearted attempt at the clearance, ultimately allowing the Spaniard, with three goals in 54 appearances, to thump home. Samuel Eto’o was rash to challenge Costa in the manner he did, prior to the Ibérian-Brazilian’s composed execution of the spot-kick, and our back-line failed to prevent Turan from scoring from the rebound of his header. Fernando Torres’s 36th minute opener would have have been enough to reach the final, where a ruthless Real Madrid team, labelled the best for years by club president Florentino Perez, await, but it wasn’t to be.

The final between Atlético and Real will be the first European Cup final showpiece contested by two clubs of the same city, and it was totally deserved. Turan and Koke shone, yet Diego Simeone’s most impressive player was right-back Juanfran, who defended in disciplined fashion and attacked with such gusto, creating two goals. Atlético deserved this, their first European Cup final since 1947, where they succumbed to a powerful Bayern Munich team, including the likes of Franz Beckenbauer, Paul Breitner and Gerd Müller. But the sense of regret will remain, for us and Terry.

Terry’s future at Stamford Bridge is unclear, but the expectation is that he will be offered a one-year contract extension, a possibility recently echoed by assistant manager Steve Holland. For so long, he has been the sentry and the source of guidance for this great club, but his desire to compete in another European final in Chelsea blue looks to be undiminished.

In 2009, at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium in the penalty shootout of the final, Terry’s infamous slip gifted Manchester United the European crown. In 2012, on that fateful night in Munich, the 33 year-old was ineligible through suspension, collecting a needless red card for poleaxing Alexis Sanchez at the Camp Nou. To accentuate his European misery, he missed out on last season’s Europa League triumph in Amsterdam, unavailable through injury.

Before the game, he spoke of the heartache of exiting Europe’s elite competition at such a late stage, touching distance from “Ol’ Big Ears”. But as he did, he feared for his future involvement in such prestigious fixtures.

Norwich preview

Despite prioritizing Wednesday’s semi-final, we were able to secure a vital victory at Anfield, one which left us with slim hope of the Premier League title but was of more benefit to Manchester City. A victory on Sunday afternoon will continue this enthralling title race into the final week.

The capability of Neil Adams’s struggling Canaries team must not be underestimated though, the East Anglian club eager to escape the perils of relegation. They showed their fighting spirit against Liverpool a fortnight ago, but succumbed meekly to Manchester United last week.

Prediction: 3-0.

Predicted starting XIs:

Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta, Matic, Lampard, Willian, Oscar, Hazard, Eto’o.

Norwich City: Ruddy, Whittaker, Martin, Turner, Olsson, Johnson, Fer, Snodgrass, Redmond, Hooper, Van Wolfswinkel.

There are 35 comments

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  1. West Coast Blue

    I’m still in mourning and stoutly not buying into this media Athletico love-in. Likewise we weren’t remarkable over the 2 legs, but AM just appear to me to be a well-drilled side without any real stand-out players? When we lost semi-finals in the past (5 and counting since 2004) at least it was vs. Liverpool or (cheated) vs. Barca. But this week ranks alongside Ranieri’s melt-down against Monaco in 2004 as a missed opportunity. Critical thing for me was the timing of the 1st goal. If we had got to HT with a 1-0 lead then we could have played the counter-attack they did in
    the 2nd half. Instead 1-1 in the 44th min changed the game, then Eto’s crazy challenge and the rest is history with the third goal academic. Also a little food for thought for Jose. Third SF lost with
    Chelsea (other two vs Liverpool to the “ghost goal” in 2005 & penalties in 2007) and all in my opinion due to being over-cautious – especially in the 1st leg. What price an away goal last week in Madrid?

      • Blue_MikeL

        yes, when I was reading the first thing which came to my mind was Joe Cole and yes I would be absolutely gutted to lose Eden. Mata was enough.

    • limetreebower

      They had a much fuller transcript of what José actually said in one of the newspapers. It really wasn’t much like the way the stories spun it.

      The interesting thing to me was how straightforward José was about the decision he took at the beginning of the winter, when we gave up four goals (was it four?) away at Sunderland. Back then he only hinted at it (though it was pretty clear what he meant), but now he’s quite explicit about what happened: he decided the team wasn’t ready to play as openly as he’d thought, so he reverted to a counter-attacking model because of the pressure to achieve acceptable results.

      Basically, he was saying that you can’t really have a transitional season at Chelsea. You have to find a way to win enough games to finish in the top four and get out of the CL group stages. If that requires a tighter defensive approach, well, there you go. There’s no point (he said) trying to play in a way which doesn’t match the abilities of the players you actually have. If you’re trying to unleash your attacking players and end up conceding three goals a game, you’ve got to do something different.

      That’s the context in which he was talking about Eden’s remarks. He was pointing out — quite reasonably, and fairly too, I think — that Hazard’s not yet ready to provide the level of defensive cover required if the team is going to play more aggressively at the front. He said something pretty similar about Schürrle yesterday.

      All he’s really saying is what most of us here have been saying all along: this is a relatively young, developing team. I don’t think there’s anything particularly alarming about making this public.

      • Blue_MikeL

        Unfortunately I haven’t seen the transcript, so thank you very for bring it over. Reading what you saying makes a lot of sense.

      • Ahmed Osoble

        Agreed, it was all lazy journalism and the whole thing thrown incredibly out of context. I’m not one to heed into reports about CFC & Mourinho but the Mail report that claimed Mourinho had argued with Salah and Matic at HT yesterday alarmed me. He’s not losing the dressing room, is he?

        • Ahmed Osoble

          There was also a report in the Telegraph claiming Mourinho had warned Schurrle, Oscar and Hazard that they would be sold if they don’t improve. Mata all over again?
          It would be daft. Oscar is developing, as is Hazard. Schurrle, despite not playing all the time, has shown glimpses of his ability. For me, midfield’s ok. Our frontline needs TLC.

          • limetreebower

            Sounds like a media bandwagon thing, but who knows? I don’t really see the logic this time — whereas with Mata it was in a sense obvious that he didn’t fit the Mourinho model.

            As for half-time yesterday, it would be a surprise if the manager hadn’t argued with the team. They were terrible for 45 minutes, with the possible exception of Shirley. Much better in the second half, so something must have worked.

            The media will always want a story about José fighting with his players. Let’s not forget how much Hazard’s improved this season — and Wllian too, very dramatically. Some of that’s got to be because José challenged them to get better.

            You’ve got to feel sorry for poor old Mata. He’s just escaped being yelled at by one dementedly intense manager, and now he’s about to get Van Gaal …

        • OsgoodWasGood

          I thought Matic (who has normally been great ) had an absolute nightmare yesterday. Distribution was terrible and he lost the ball quite a bit. If the manager can’t get on a player playing poorly he cant do his job IMO.
          Also the Mail ( which appears to still be the rag it was when I left the UK ) calls it arguing I would wager it was Mourinho ripping him a new one.

          • Ahmed Osoble

            Agree with your Matic point but Mourinho was wrong to have serious reservations about signing him, per the Mail. Has been outstanding since arrival.

  2. WorkingClassPost

    My issue with our counter attacking style, is that we don’t do it particularly well, and that’s got little to do with the players.

    Most of the time we’re too slow and laboured to catch teams out who are prepared to get back quickly, and our only real success comes when we play better teams with ambitions of their own who leave themselves exposed.

    We’ve also looked too often tired and a bit drained, as if our real sparkle and fizz has been left at Cobham perhaps, and this could be a real problem next season following a World Cup when so many of our guys are likely to be involved.

    Anyway, there’s plenty of room for at least one of the others to slip up in the next couple of games, so who knows? In any case, second is definitely better than anything other than first, so good luck to the guys and lets show ’em what we can do.

  3. Austin Solari

    After waiting behind for the ‘Lap of Honour’ yesterday, I was horrified to see three of our stalwarts group together and wave goodbye (??) to the MH stand. There is a picture on the front of the Telegraph today of it and it seemed that the three were saying farewell. Whilst young Frank was largely ineffective yesterday, young Mr Cole was playing like a teenager and it would be foolish to let him go just yet. For someone that has played so little this season and might possibly have had his nose put out of joint, he has come in the last couple of games and performed to a very high standard in my opinion. Of course, at the same time, he may be doing his best to get a ticket to Rio but I don’t believe he is past his sell by date just yet.
    At least Frank wasn’t the worst player on the park in blue yesterday …….. I reserve that honour for Mr Bloody Ba. Hopefully, that is the last we’ll see of him.

    • Ahmed Osoble

      Yes, Austin. Our interest in Alberto Moreno and Luke Shaw could hint at A Cole leaving, our signing of Kurt Zouma in January could mean Terry leaves and reports linking us to Barkley hinting at Lampard move?
      I expect Lampard to move to the MLS, Cole to leave to whichever team he wishes and Terry to stay – But I wish they all could. Their stars haven’t dim just yet.

    • limetreebower

      Frank’s done, I think. I hope he’ll be back one day in some sort of coaching role. José more or less explicitly said the other day that Matic and Ramires are his first choices in those positions, and rightly so; Van Ginkel and Obi and Crazy David backing them up seems like plenty.

      I’ve never been a huge Cashley fan, splendid player though he is, so it won’t break my heart if he leaves, and I think he will. I don’t think Bertrand’s good enough to take over. Not sure about Van Aanholt as we haven’t seen him for ages but he looked very promising a couple of years ago. But if Dave’s going to stay on the left then we just don’t need anyone else there. (And didn’t we sign some Brazilian wonder-boy called Wallace, who’s a left back?)

      I suspect JT will stay. Surely he can’t go on playing at that level for much longer? But I can’t see him wanting to leave.

    • Pacific Blue

      Given Dave’s form @ LB I just don’t see Ash staying on as a squad player – as useful as that would be. I also think there is more to him initially losing his place than just Dave’s form. So a parting of the ways is probably best for all. (Legend) Lamps again is probably time to move on (arguably in hindsight last summer, but guessing Jose’s return convinced him otherwise) and can’t see Lamps wanting to stay to either sit on the bench and/or sit out the big games. JT I expect will stay on given his continued value to the team/club. With Zouma coming in, and JT, Cahill and Brana’s ability to play CB (and not forgetting Kalas and also Christensen developing rapidly), I’d be surprised if the only defender coming in over the summer is not just a LB as cover/competition for Dave. Add a world-class CM to partner Matic (with Ramires, Van Ginkel and possibly a promotion for one of the defensive CM youngsters such as Chaloba) as options and of course some decent strikers (two as a minimum) and we are done. Cover for Oscar @ #10 would be nice if a decent player who doesn’t break the bank is available, and the #1 shirt will be interesting also (stick with Cech who has shown amazing loyalty and consistency but is arguably not at the levels of circa 2004 to 2008, or twist with Courtois who has unquestionable potential but showed questionable loyalty by playing against us in the ECL SF)? Luiz, Mikel, Ba, Torres (Lukaku?) plus Bertrand, Romeu, Marin, Moses and the money made in January sales, CL run & 3rd place PL finish should cover it?

  4. Day Tripper

    I was imagining the boos that would have rung out had Benitez still been the manager…

  5. limetreebower

    On an unrelated note, I just got back from watching our under 18s win the FA Youth Cup yet again. Absolutely fantastic game. It’s played over two legs (away goals don’t count as tiebreakers); our boys had lost the first leg 3-2 to Fulham, and were 3-2 down again deep into the second half of the second game. So, 6-4 down on aggregate and needing two to force extra time … and they scored three times in the final 14 minutes.

    Great fun. Over 13,000 in the stadium too. A much more enjoyable way to finish the season than Sunday’s game, I have to say.

  6. Blue_MikeL

    Brendan Rodgers after the Chelsea game: “Every manager can defend, that’s not hard.”

    Brendan Rodgers after the C. Palace game: “Our defense has cost us tonight.”

      • Blue_MikeL

        As I am coming from the area of mathematics and stats I am suggesting to perform an experiment. Let’s help them to bring the statue back and then remove it again, if they drop to League 1 than we can conclude that statue is at fault.

  7. musumba

    The team was better without Eden Hazard, The reason Jose continuously includes him in his lineup is beyond belief especially in tactical games,Hazards decision making is very poor and he is too error prone when it comes to tactical formations,I hope Jose realises that he needs SMART TALENTED players and not TALENTED dribblers to win certain games.

    • Ahmed Osoble

      How Hodgson over-looked Cole is unbelievable. Shaw is an excellent talent and is one for the future, but was Baines to suffer an injury at the WC, vs Italy or Uruguay, is Shaw really prepared to feature on such an elevated stage? I’m not sure, and Cole, whose star is yet to dim, possess priceless experience. 107 caps for his country. What are they smoking over there?

      • Blue_MikeL

        I totally agree with what you are saying. It might be just the same stance like with Walcott he was called upon, but never played even when had to.

      • WorkingClassPost

        What’s even weirder is that Cole hasn’t played much this season, but he has had a few games recently so should be in just about the best condition possible for a guy of his age and experience.

  8. HannahMoore2014

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