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Sunday 31 August 2014

Terry back in Chelsea squad

Published 11/01/2013 | 15:00

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John Terry has been sidelined since November with knee ligament damage

Captain John Terry is in the Chelsea squad for Saturday's Barclays Premier game against Stoke but will not start, interim manager Rafael Benitez has confirmed.

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Terry came through 45 minutes of the Blues' Under-21 game against Fulham on Thursday, his first appearance since suffering knee ligament damage against Liverpool in November. Benitez confirmed that the 32-year-old has returned to training and will be in the squad for the game at the Britannia Stadium, but will start on the bench

"He played yesterday. He was okay," Benitez said. "He has been training today. He is in the squad."

Asked whether Terry will start, the Spaniard added: "No, but he is available. It's good news for us. He has been out for 16 weeks."

Meanwhile, Benitez has backed Fernando Torres to win over the Chelsea boo-boys and insisted the misfiring striker's poor performance against Swansea was down to a stomach bug, rather than lack of desire or talent.

Torres put in one of the worst performances of his Chelsea career two days ago. The £50million striker touched the ball just 19 times during his 81 minutes on the pitch and could only muster two feeble attempts on goal.

The Blues fans have stood by their most expensive import despite his patchy form throughout his two-year spell at Stamford Bridge, but on Wednesday they gave the 28-year-old both barrels, sarcastically applauding the player as he left the field having called for Demba Ba's introduction since half-time.

Benitez revealed that part of the reason why Torres did not play well was because the Spaniard had been struggling with illness, and his only other replacement Ba was not fully fit as he had a hamstring injury.

"I could not explain it before the match, because (Swansea manager) Michael Laudrup would have known, but Fernando had a stomach bug and Demba Ba had a niggle," Benitez told a press conference.

"The club doctor was giving Fernando tablets, but I told him he had to play because we couldn't play Demba Ba. So Fernando was playing with the problem. I was really pleased with him because he was trying to play despite the problems he had."

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