Chelsea captain John Terry has revealed that a pep talk from Jose Mourinho inspired him to bounce back to top form in the Premier League this season.
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There was a theory that Terry was reaching the end of his reign as Chelsea’s most successful captain as he lost his place in the Blues line-up during Rafael Benitez’s tenure in charge last season.
Yet the Blues talisman has been back to his imperious best in recent months, inspiring some to suggest he should be enticed out of the international wilderness and handed an England recall ahead of next summer’s World Cup finals.
Terry declined to comment on his lingering international ambitions in an interview with the Chelsea magazine, but he did discuss his heart to heart with Mourinho.
“The manager was straight with me from day one,” said Terry. “When Jose came in, after the first week he said: ‘For me, nothing has changed. You’re still top, you can still work and play at the top’ and that was important.
“He showed faith in me, and to get that arm around you is something everyone needs, even if you are one of the more experienced players in the team.
“At the time the manager spoke about it, I think I needed it and, when I got that from him, it not only made me feel 10 foot tall, but it made me want to work even harder for the man in charge. It makes you go to that extra level -- and I would give everything for the manager.”
Terry went on to discuss his pride at joining an exclusive band of players who have made 600 appearances for Chelsea, as he claims the honour of being ranked alongside the likes of Blues legends Peter Bonetti and Ron Harris inspires him and his long-standing teammate Frank Lampard.
“I look at ‘Chopper’ Harris and Peter Bonetti and it has always been the ambition for me to get up there with them, along with Lamps, who is the other player to have played 600 games here,” he added.
“Looking at those names, I am among legends and it is an honour just to be there. It is something I have always strived for, from when I was a kid at this club.
“I think it comes down to maintaining a level of performance, no matter what status you have at the club. Growing up with the likes of Michael Duberry, Frank Leboeuf and Marcel Desailly definitely improved my game.
“Not only because of the way they looked after me or the education they gave me through watching them play and training with them on a daily basis -- they had the time to talk to a 17-year-old who was trying to learn his trade -- but also through me wanting to stay out there after sessions and wanting to improve on what they told me.”