x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

John Terry urges Chelsea to keep going

But Jose Mourinho, the manager, insists his side are not ready to win the Premier League title just yet. In other news, Manchester City remain confident of sustaining momentum while Liverpool ready to rebound from back-to-back defeats.

Captain John Terry, second from right, wants Chelsea to repeat their performance against Liverpool. Julian Finney / Getty Images
Captain John Terry, second from right, wants Chelsea to repeat their performance against Liverpool. Julian Finney / Getty Images

John Terry, the Chelsea captain, believes his side will head to Southampton on Wednesday buoyed by having produced their best performance of the season in the victory over Liverpool.

Jose Mourinho, the Chelsea manager, has maintained that his team are in a period of transition, playing down their chances of taking the Premier League title.

But Sunday’s 2-1 win at Stamford Bridge, against one of their main rivals at the head of the table, ensured that Mourinho’s side remained two points off the top.

And Terry believes there were signs in the Liverpool win that confirmed there is more to come from the team.

The centre-back, who clocked up his 600th Chelsea appearance against the Anfield club, said: “I think the first half was the best we’ve played all season, actually; the pressing was spot on, as were the tactics from the manager.

“Hopefully we can continue that, as it’s been coming. We’ve been playing OK, but feeling like we’ve got a little bit more to give and I thought we did that in this game.”

Terry believes Mourinho has succeeded in forging a togetherness within the squad and continues to draw the best out of the defender and the rest of his senior players.

“The manager has been asking for togetherness from everyone,” Terry said.

“Whether you play or you are on the bench, everyone’s got a part to play. When the guys are not playing, it’s important they maintain their fitness and their sharpness.

“The older boys in the squad have still got a lot to give, too. We see that every week.

“There is new talent coming through the squad and one day it will come to an end -- we all realise that -- but it certainly won’t be for the want of trying from us, trying to keep our place in the team.”

David Luiz will miss the trip to Southampton after collecting a fifth booking, while Frank Lampard and Branislav Ivanovic are likely to be sidelined after picking up injuries against Liverpool.

Liverpool will rebound, says Rodgers

Brendan Rodgers insists Liverpool will not repeat the costly mistakes from their last meeting with Hull when they face the Tigers at Anfield on Wednesday.

Rodgers’s team suffered a surprise 3-1 defeat against Hull at the KC Stadium on December 1 after an error-strewn performance which saw Reds defender Martin Skrtel score an own goal.

But Rodgers remains confident that sloppy display was a one-off and he expects Liverpool to return to winning ways after damaging back-to-back defeats against fellow title contenders Manchester City and Chelsea in their last two matches.

“It’s very simple – we are at home and we expect to win,” Rodgers said.

“We were very disappointed in our performance level in the game there. We were nowhere near the standard we would expect, but you have to give credit to Hull – they exposed that on the day.

“But we aim to make sure that no matter what squad or team we put out, we don’t make the same mistakes again because home games are vitally important for us.

“We know it’s going to be like any other game at this level; a very tough game.

“They’re coming off the back of a 6-0 victory [against Fulham] that doesn’t happen too often when you’re in the Premier League, especially when it’s 0-0 at half-time. It was a terrific result.”

Rodgers could welcome back captain Steven Gerrard for the match after he returned to training following a hamstring problem which has kept him on the sidelines since December 7.

However, Liverpool will definitely be without midfielder Joe Allen and centre-back Mamadou Sakho who both limped out of their 2-1 defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

“Joe will probably be a few weeks with an abductor strain,” Rodgers added.

Pellegrini reckons City in strong position

Manuel Pellegrini, the Manchester City manager, believes that his side’s profitable December has set them up to regain the Premier League title in 2014.

City won six of their seven league games in December, only dropping points in a draw at Southampton, and are now just a point off leaders Arsenal heading into their first game of 2014 at Swansea City on Wednesday.

The 2012 champions were eighth in the table at one point in November and looking in danger of being cut adrift by their title rivals, only to recover the deficit.

“I think it was a fantastic month for us,” Pellegrini said.

“In the Premier League, from the last seven we won six. It was very important for us to recover points. Arsenal were six points ahead of us so it is very important to finish the year in the position we wanted to be.

“To recover six points in a month is not easy. We continue in the Capital One (League) Cup and Champions League also, so I think the first six months of the year (season) was very good for us. Now in the second half we try to continue winning.”

Goalkeeper Joe Hart suffered a nasty cut below his eye in City’s 1-0 win over Crystal Palace on Saturday, but he will be fit to face Swansea after having six stitches in the wound.

Hart has been in good form since returning to Pellegrini’s starting line-up in the Premier League after a period on the bench following a number of high-profile errors early in the season.

“Joe Hart has a cut beneath his eye, but nothing important,” explained Pellegrini. “It is not dangerous and he can play without any risk.