No Chelsea supporter could have been surprised to see John Terry mark a milestone game with a goal and even if his second-half header did not prove to be the winner over Southampton, it was still an important one, putting his team in front as the game was turned around soon after the interval.
The match was Terry’s 593rd in all competitions, moving him ahead of John Hollins in the Chelsea appearances rankings, with only Ron Harris, Peter Bonetti and Frank Lampard ahead, and it was also his 400th in the Premier League with his first having come against the same opposition on Boxing Day in 1998.
‘That was a long time ago but I am proud to play so many games at the top level,’ our captain said after the 3-1 win.
‘We have been a club improving year after year, signing big players so I have had to maintain my level to keep my place in the side, and hopefully there will be more to come. I am thankful to the fans for sticking by me and the club as well.’
His goal was his 57th for Chelsea and his second of the season. Gary Cahill had made the scorer 1-1 with his first of the campaign; Demba Ba completing the scoring late on having been introduced at half time with the Saints leading through a goal after only 13 seconds.
‘Gary and I spoke before the game saying that we can chip in a bit more because we hadn’t scored in a while and we were due one,’ revealed Terry.
‘He set us on our way with a great header and you need the centre-halves to come up and play a part, and we spend a lot of time on that in training. We are a threat from set-pieces and we are forming a good relationship at the back, and the goals and keeping it tight at the back are important.
‘It is great for Demba coming on and getting his goal but that is our job as well. When we go up for set-pieces we try to make a difference.
With the team having lost midweek to Basel and then getting off to such a bad start against Southampton, Terry praised the character shown by his colleagues to play the way they did in the second half.
‘We were more on the front foot which is the way we wanted to start the game. Southampton are very good side and deserve to be where they are in the league. I have watched a lot of their games and we felt the full force of that in the first half especially. They press very high and have a lot of energy and with the goal coming so early it gave them a lot of confidence.
‘We had to regroup at half-time and come out and start the way we did which was to dominate and press the ball a lot higher. We managed to win the ball back in their half and cause them a lot of problems.’
–A clip of John Terry talking to Chelsea TV after the game can be viewed above with the full interview available now via the channel’s online access.