There are very few players currently operating in the Barclays Premier League with as much experience as John Terry, and the Chelsea captain, having won the title on three occasions, believes the key to ensuring we end the campaign positively is simply to keep on winning football matches.
Last week’s victory at Fulham allowed us to open up a six-point lead over fourth-placed Manchester City, albeit having played two more games than Manuel Pellegrini’s side, while we currently hold a four-point advantage over both Liverpool and Arsenal.
Speaking ahead of this evening’s London derby against Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge, Terry remains confident that, with our three closest rivals not involved in league fixtures this weekend, we can take advantage.
‘It’s important for us to get our points on the board,’ he tells the official Chelsea website.
‘Obviously Manchester City have got games in hand and, if they win them all, they go back to the top of the league because of their goal difference, but it’s always nice to have the points on the board.
‘They’ve got a tough game in the week against Barcelona and some difficult games coming up, so you never know, but all we can do is our own job, which is to keep on winning, especially at home.
‘Having won trophies you know what it takes to get to that level again. It’s going to be very tough; City have a great squad, Liverpool are doing very well at the moment, but from where we were last season, the manager came in from day one and made it clear that’s not good enough. We have to compete and be very close.’
Fundamental to our success over the last few months has been the defensive solidity throughout the side. The Blues have conceded just three league goals since the turn of the year, with the partnership between Terry and Gary Cahill a key factor.
Having played alongside some of the very best defenders during his time at the club, including Marcel Desailly, William Gallas and Ricardo Carvalho, the skipper is well placed to assess Cahill’s performances of late.
‘He’s been very good,’ Terry says. ‘I had a great relationship with him for England when we played together a few times and I think he’s one of the best defenders, not only in the Premier League but in Europe and the world at the moment.
‘He’s still young and he’s still learning but he’s added so much to his game, he also pops up and scores big, vital goals for us.
‘Technically he’s great on the ball, very quick, he’s strong, athletic and very composed. He seems to keep getting better with every game.’
Having missed only two league matches this season, Terry has benefited hugely from the faith shown in him by Mourinho having endured a difficult 2012/13 campaign.
Arguably the most consistent defender in the league since August, he is enjoying his football, and tonight he will come up against a striker at the top of his game in Emmanuel Adebayor.
‘I’m really pleased with this season having not played as many games as I would have liked last year,’ says the 33-year-old. ‘I hit the ground running after coming in early for pre-season and worked hard.
‘With the new manager there was a big incentive to come in and prove to him that I was still capable, which I did, and I’ve been playing well. Along with my own personal form, though, more importantly the team are playing well and sitting at the top of the league which is the main thing.
‘Tottenham are a tough side, Adebayor’s come into the team having been out of it and with a point to prove, which he’s done. Tim [Sherwood] has shown faith in him and he’s repaid the manager, he’s scoring goals and the team are playing well.
‘It’s always a tough game so form goes out of the window when it comes to these big London derbies.’
At this stage of the season, minor details can make a big difference, and developing a winning habit, according to Terry, can prove pivotal.
‘When you go from one game to another, and more importantly when you’re winning, you just bounce on to the next one and keep going. That rhythm is important. We’re a big side and we’re used to that at Chelsea with the Champions League, normally we’re still in the FA Cup as well, so we’re regularly playing two games a week and I think that’s when we’re at our best.’