Sentimental connection

John Terry was a mainstay of the team that Jose Mourinho led to glory in the 2004/5 season and remains just as important today at the age of 34.

A lot has changed since Chelsea first won the Premier League in 2005 but John Terry continues to lead by example and is once again on course to lift the biggest prize in English football.

Terry was a mainstay of the team that Jose Mourinho led to glory in the 2004/5 season and remains just as important today at the age of 34. That was highlighted during the Christmas period by his goals against Stoke and West Ham, coupled with clean sheets in both games.

The likes of fellow Chelsea greats Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard may have moved on as they come towards the end of their careers but it is hard to envisage Terry ever leaving Stamford Bridge for pastures new.

Mourinho revealed it is inevitable Terry, who is out of contract in June, will be granted a contract extension at Chelsea and there is little doubt that the player will put pen to paper.

“It’s a formality,” the Portuguese said. “There are no doubts that he is going to get another contract. I know that, he knows that. We in the club, in the board, we know that and I think also you have to feel that. Without us confirming anything, you have to feel that. He’s a very important player in the team so the next contract sooner or later will come.”

Chelsea have a policy of offering those over 30 only one-year deals, irrespective of their status, but there is little sign that Terry is struggling to cope with the demands of playing at the highest level.

His first-half tap-in was the turning point during the 2-0 victory over West Ham and Mourinho, who made Terry captain during his first spell at the club, added: “He always had that (goal-scoring ability). He’s full of confidence. I see my John of 2004, 05, 06. I see him. I don’t see any difference. I only see a difference when I see his twin (daughters), when they go to the training ground because they were born in that period and now they are running and kicking balls. In him there is no difference. He’s playing so good.”

Terry is focused on winning a fourth Premier League title and is confident of adding to the back-to-back titles he won in 2005 and 2006, as well as another in 2010.

“We’re playing great now, everyone can see that, and if we continue to do that it’s going to be tough,” he said after the West Ham game. “That’s (the title) the target for us, right from day one. We’ve got off to a good start, and if we continue our form it’s going to be tough for anyone. We are playing great at the minute but that can change over two or three games, everyone’s seen that. It’s important we remain calm and keep doing what we’re doing right now which is playing good at the moment. I see a hunger among the players that haven’t won the league.”

One of those players is Nemanja Matic and the Serbia midfielder hopes to play alongside Terry for many years to come at Chelsea. “John is a big player, he’s our captain and he deserves everything,” Matic told Chelsea TV.

“He’s one of the best central defenders in England ever. It’s good to have him in the team. I hope he will continue for a few more years like this.”

It is a sentiment shared by everyone connected to Chelsea.

© PA Sport