Terry: I have to fight for my place
Chelsea captain John Terry has said it would be "silly" for him to think he could walk straight back into the team after injury as he again dismissed talk of a rift with Rafael Benitez.
Terry, speaking after the 4-0 FA Cup victory over Brentford, denied a report in a weekend newspaper that he had issues with the interim Blues boss over his lack of playing time since returning from a knee injury.
Benitez has maintained that Terry's fitness must be managed carefully and that, with Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic forming an effective centre-back pairing, he will not rush the skipper back into regular action.
Terry says that, as far as he is concerned, all that matters is that the Blues keep winning.
"It is not about Rafa, me or Frank Lampard - it is not about anybody," he said. "It is about this football club winning games and if we are doing that, the fans are happy. That's all they want to see. If that's with me in the side, great. If not, then I will be their biggest supporter and I'll sit there and support the team like the fans will."
He added: "I'm not silly. I've been out for four months - the other two guys have been playing really well, so it is going to be difficult for me to get back in.
"Naturally I want to play games. The manager doesn't need to ask me that question to know what answer he is going to get. I am not one to go in and knock the manager's door down. I respect the other players.
"I have to fight for my place, the same as everyone. I think it is important that comes across from me directly. When you are playing for ten years you don't just get selected. You have to play well, train well and impress managers."
Terry, who sustained the injury shortly Benitez's appointment in November, feels the Spaniard has not yet seen him at his best.
"The most frustrating thing was that when Rafa came in, I wasn't fit and I wasn't able to impress him and show what I am about," he said. "I have got a bit of catching up to do. He has not seen me at 100%. I still need a couple of games, that is clear, but if I am called upon all I can do is come in and play well. There is no rift."
Benitez has endured a difficult time at Stamford Bridge. His history with Liverpool, and the fact he replaced Roberto Di Matteo, had seen the fans protest his appointment from the outset, and the often disappointing results have done nothing to help.
Terry said: "If you are losing games, the pressure is on the manager. He has to take responsibility because he is the one who picks the team, so if we are not [winning], as with all managers, it falls on his head, unfortunately, but if we are winning games, and hopefully we can do that, it takes the pressure off him.''
Information from the Press Association was used in this report