John Terry insists talk of Chelsea player power is ‘nonsense’

JOHN Terry last night accused Wojciech Szczesny and Luiz Felipe Scolari of talking “complete nonsense” about the Chelsea dressing room

Terry rubbished Arsenal goalkeeper Szczesny’s claim that Andre Villas-Boas’ sacking as manager proved the Blues’ players effectively ran the club.

Former Chelsea manager Scolari also warned Villas-Boas’ successor “hell” awaited him because of the influence of the squad on owner Roman Abramovich.

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Blues captain Terry has hit back ahead of Chelsea’s Champions League last-16 second leg against Napoli this evening, saying: “We win and lose together at this club – we’re all responsible for the results we have.

“As for the senior players running this football club, that’s nonsense. That’s just the perception from outside. Roman and the board make the decisions.

“On the football pitch, that can affect what happens upstairs of course. If we don’t win matches, the board step in.

“People speculating from various different clubs or previous managers, that’s complete nonsense.”

With Terry sat next to caretaker manager Roberto Di Matteo during the pre-match press conference, it was no surprise to see almost every question posed to the deposed England captain.

This season has been turbulent in the extreme for Terry both on and off the field.

Chelsea’s meltdown under Villas-Boas corresponded with Terry facing trial for racism – a charge he denies – and an injury that looked set to rule the defender out until April.

Asked about the difficulties of remaining focused, he said: “I think I’ve shown that with my performances, despite what’s happening off the field.

“I know what I have to do for Chelsea. As captain, I’m very fortunate and privileged.

“If you had said ten years ago that Robbie and I would be sitting here with such a big night coming up tomorrow, we’d have probably laughed at you.

“But that’s the reality. You won’t find two other people who care more about the football club going into this game. We represent Chelsea.

“We give that fiery atmosphere in the dressing room and take it on to the pitch and hope everyone feeds off that.”

Chelsea will need all that and more if they are to become only the fourth club to overturn a first-leg deficit of two goals or more in the Champions League after losing 3-1 in Naples three weeks ago.

Real Madrid, meanwhile, hold an away-goal advantage ahead of tonight’s return leg with CSKA Moscow. The La Liga leaders drew 1-1 in Russia and are favourites to progress to the quarter-finals having won 17 games at the Santiago Bernabeu this season and lost just two, to Barcelona.