Roman wants us to win everything, says Terry
JOHN Terry provided an insight into the pressure on Chelsea's players yesterday by revealing Roman Abramovich's pre-season demand for them to win every competition they enter.
Carlo Ancelotti led Chelsea to the double for the first time in the club's history last season, but such are the standards at Stamford Bridge that their owner was not entirely satisfied.
Abramovich's overriding ambition is to see his side bring the European Cup to London for the first time, but he made it clear to his players that this target should not be pursued at the expense of all others.
The message seems to have sunk in, as while a quadruple is no longer possible after last week's Carling Cup defeat by Newcastle United, Chelsea are top of the Premier League and Champions League Group F.
"The message is clear from the owner," Terry said. "He wants to win everything. And with the squad we have, he expects to. It's a tough one between the Champions League and the Premier League. You can't prioritise one trophy and put one ahead of the other.
"The Champions League is a massive trophy that still eludes us and we would love to go and win that."
For all the trauma caused by defeat in four Champions League semi-finals and that unforgettable penalty shoot-out defeat in the 2008 final to Manchester United, Terry sees winning the Premier League as a bigger achievement, because a 38-match programme, in arguably the toughest domestic competition in the world, represents a true test of stamina.
"The Premier League is the biggest test because, along with Spain, we've got the best league in the world with the best players in the world," the defender said. "You can take a lot of credit from that.
"But at the same time the Champions League is a trophy we haven't won, one we want to win, and we have a manager who has experience of having done that himself.
"We've had a taste of the final so the experience is there. Hopefully, if it comes around again, we will have that experience to go on and win it."
Terry's views are born out by the ease with which Chelsea responded to last weekend's first league defeat of the season, away to Manchester City, by strolling to a 2-0 Champions League victory over Marseilles on Tuesday.
Arsenal's visit to Stamford Bridge on Sunday will provide another intriguing examination of the champions' resolve, although Terry remains relaxed at losing their 100pc record to a City team he considers to be genuine championship challengers.
"The way City played against us, they are definitely title contenders. They have certainly got the players to do so and any big side going there is going to find it difficult because they always raise their game. It's against the smaller sides that they have found it difficult."
However, his praise of Roberto Mancini's team was heavily qualified. "I've seen quite a bit of City and they have not looked great," Terry said. "But they raised their game against us and they were excellent -- it was their best game of the season. They're going to get encouragement from that, from beating the in-form side in the league."
One reason Terry gave last year for staying at Chelsea was that Abramovich had given him assurances that he was ready to invest again and compete for the big names. Certainly the club have tried to sign Franck Ribery, Sergio Aguero, Neymar and Fernando Torres, but none of those big names has arrived. Instead there has been an increasing talking-up of the young players.
"Us, Man United and Liverpool, nobody was really spending this summer -- apart from Man City, obviously, with the resources they have got," Terry said.
"We did that early on when Roman put his hand in his pocket and bought a lot of players, but now we are seeing some young players coming through and making a difference. Josh McEachran and Gael Kakuta look excellent. At the same time we did lose some really experienced players, Joe Cole especially."
Midfielder McEachran (17) has particularly caught Terry's eye. "I think Josh can be very good. He was with us in pre-season and I'm quite close to Josh," said Terry. "He's got amazing ability. He can open defences with a pass.
"When I was younger and came on it was a case of hiding a bit and feeling your way in, but these guys come in and demand the ball and want to make a difference and want to make an impact on the game. Josh is certainly one of them." (© The Times, London)