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Feb 23, 2011

Terry: Man Utd could bottle title

John Terry insists Manchester United could yet bottle it in the Barclays Premier League title race, starting against his Chelsea side on Tuesday.

Chelsea have all but surrendered their mantle of English champions, having slipped back to fifth place in the table, 12 points behind long-time leaders United.

But captain Terry has vowed to fight to the bitter end and reckons beating United at Stamford Bridge next week would help sow the seeds of doubt in the minds of their perennial title rivals.

Terry acknowledges the chances of Chelsea retaining their crown are "really small'' but he is well aware 12-point leads have been frittered away before at this stage of a season, not least by United themselves in 1998, as well as by Newcastle two years earlier.

"It's been done. Man United did it to Newcastle many years ago,'' the England defender said. "It's possible and a little bit of pressure.

"Even those games at the end of last year, us knowing we needed to win, there's an awful lot of pressure on those games,'' said Terry, whose side won a vital title decider against United last April. Going to Old Trafford and winning can only do us the world of good in years to come and this year.''

United have lost only one of their 26 league games all season, although they have dropped plenty of points away from home, winning just three of 12 matches. Terry said: "At times, we see that they can be beaten, they can be got at.

"They're certainly not invincible. Blackpool, they got in their faces and did very well for 60, 70 minutes. But what did show, once again, was their experience. That experience, we've also got here as well. They're a very good side but I don't think anybody should be fearful of them.''

Branding Tuesday's match "must-win'', he added: "Who knows what game plan they're going to come down with? They're playing well, so they'll probably be confident of coming down and getting something, which will hopefully suit us.''

Terry reckons they are now ready to rescue their ailing league campaign. "We've been there, we've seen it, we've done it, we've got the t-shirt,'' he said. "When we do go on a bad run, people pinpoint the age.

"But what we have got is an awful lot of experience, a lot of trust in each other and belief that we can still do it. Look at last year as well, the experience we showed last year in a lot of big games in the run-in.

"We went away to Liverpool, went away to Man United and won very big games - which proved to be very crucial in us doing the double.''

Terry agreed with manager Ancelotti that United would be facing a Chelsea side now boasting a forward line to be feared all over Europe with new £50 million man Fernando Torres joining Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka.

"To play against them must put the fear into defenders,'' he said. "The two guys who started, showing their pace, playing on people's shoulders, there's probably none better in the league. Hopefully this is the start of them all clicking together.''

He added of Torres: "The only thing that was missing from his performance was a goal. It would've been very nice for him, but he played a massive part in our performance.''

And Terry would not be surprised at all to see the Spaniard finally break his duck against United, adding: "We hope so. It'd be an ideal time, and what a way to get going.''

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