Terry makes top flight return after two month absence… and concedes a penalty!
17:44 GMT, 12 January 2013
18:16 GMT, 12 January 2013
Chelsea captain John Terry made his return to Barclays Premier League action on Saturday afternoon against Stoke.
It wasn't quite the return he would have envisaged, his foul on Jon Walters seeing the Potters awarded a late penalty.
On other days this may have been disastrous for Chelsea, but thanks to two Walters' own goals, a Frank Lampard spot kick and an Eden Hazard belter, the Blues were already 4-0 up.
Back to business: John Terry enters the fray with 10 minutes to go against Stoke
Leader: Terry takes the armband from Juan Mata and resumed his role as Chelsea skipper
Not making amends: Walters smashed his penalty high over the bar to compound a terrible afternoon
Regardless, Walters saved Terry's blushes anyway by thumping the spot kick over the bar.
Terry was brought on as a substitute for Juan Mata in the 79th minute and instantly took the armband, ignoring the now-traditional abuse from the opposition fans.
The skipper's return capped a superb afternoon for Rafa Benitez, who has not been able to deploy the defender during his time as interim Chelsea manager because of a knee injury.
Terry sustained the problem after a clash
with Liverpool's Luis Suarez on November 11 and although initially he
seemed set for a quick return, only appeared on Thursday night the the
Benitez said: 'I was trying to give
him some minutes to see how he was. I watched him in the reserve team
but this is totally different, so we played five at the back and tried
to protect him a bit.
'We will see how he trains and if he has no problems, it is a question of fitness now.'
Terry's team-mate for club and
country, Gary Cahill, missed the game against Stoke because his partner
was giving birth to his son.
explained: 'We had trained with Cahill but he had to go. The baby is
fine and they are happy, and we are happy, so everything is going well.'
David Luiz retreated from the midfield
position he has been deployed in of late and impressed at the back, with
Lampard stepping in alongside Ramires in the centre.
At long last: Rafa Benitez (right) had not been able to use Terry so far during his time at Chelsea
Terry will now be aiming to start in Chelsea's match on Wednesday at home against Southampton, but the manager admitted he would have to monitor his fitness.
Benitez will be delighted with his
side's show of strength, seeing as no side had been able to turn Stoke
over at the Britannia since February last year.
a pitiful defeat against Swansea in midweek in the first leg of his
side's Capital One Cup semi-final stoking the ire of Chelsea supporters,
Benitez needed a result today.
He dropped striker Fernando Torres
after he was booed off against Swansea, but introduced him in place of
Demba Ba with 20 minutes to go.
was encouraged and said: 'The attitude of Torres pleased me. He is
fighting for his position, so we had a lot of positives.'
Bench boy: Fernando Torres (centre), sitting alongside Terry, was dropped after a poor midweek showing
Stoke boss Tony Pulis was obviously far less happy with proceedings at the Britannia.
'The second goal killed us. The goals we conceded were poor and I'm disappointed with the penalty, Mata's legs collapse and I think it's a soft penalty, but it was a wonder goal from Hazard. I don't think that was a 4-0 today.
'We're disappointed,' he said. 'It just didn't go for us. The referee gives a penalty at 1-0 and it was offside, it was a good call, but if that goes for you it's one each and we have the impetus.
'We didn't deserve to be losing at half-time and until the second goal I felt we were the better team, although Chelsea have some fantastic players.'