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Terry at "very top of my game" thanks to Hiddink

John Terry believes he was only able to rediscover his best form after Chelsea sacked coach Luiz Felipe Scolari and replaced him with interim coach Guus Hiddink.

The Dutch coach transformed the Blues after agreeing to replace the axed Brazilian and take control of the first team in February, but will leave Stamford Bridge after the FA Cup final against Everton on May 30 and return to his full-time post as coach of Russia's national side.

Chelsea captain Terry has played 48 club games this season, already more than in either of the previous two, and his next appearance - the 403rd - will put him in the Blues' top 10 of all time.

But while he is pleased overall with his form, he acknowledges that he only got back to his best when Hiddink arrived.

''I'm pretty pleased,'' said Terry. ''At the start of the season I thought I was playing really well and it linked well to us doing well as a team, and a few others playing really well. I think the first 10 games of the season I was really good and then after that had a dip in form for maybe another 10 games where I wasn't at the levels I can be.

''But since the manager has come in from the first game at Aston Villa, I have been at the very top of my game again.

''When a few of us don't play well the team suffers and I think our most consistent performer has been Frank Lampard, as he has been for a few years. He's continued to play well every game all season long.

''A few of us might hold our hands up and say we didn't perform at the levels we can. I think it's important that we get our consistency as it has been the last few months and go again next season.''

Meanwhile, the England captain concedes Chelsea's poor form at Stamford Bridge was among the chief reasons why they failed to land the Premier League crown.

Chelsea, who face Blackburn in their final home game on Sunday, dropped 18 points at Stamford Bridge this season with defeats to Liverpool and Arsenal as well as draws with Everton, Hull, Newcastle, West Ham, Tottenham, and Manchester United.

Chelsea now lie third in the table, three points adrift of second-placed Liverpool and nine behind Manchester United, who only need a draw against Arsenal on Saturday to retain the title.

But while Terry concedes their home form has been disappointing, the Blues have not given up the chase to finish as runners-up.

''Last year we went so close in a few different things and we have done so again,'' said Terry. ''At times we were top of the league and doing well but we threw away too many points at home against lower teams when we shouldn't have done.

''You can always lose the games against Man United, Arsenal, Liverpool, but games like Everton home and away, Fulham when they scored late on, Hull at home are the games that really cost us.

''We needed to win at Arsenal to secure third place for us and we are still pushing for second place if Liverpool slip up and we can go above them.

''As players and fans we want to win things and we have that chance with the FA Cup so we'll be trying our utmost to win it and if we do it will be a good season for us.''


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