CHELSEA interim boss Rafael Benitez and captain John Terry insisted their relationship is sound following the 4-0 FA Cup fourthround replay defeat of Brentford at Stamford Bridge.
After goals from Juan Mata, Oscar and Frank Lampard – his 199th for Chelsea Terry made a goalscoring return with a headed fourth as the holders overcame League One Brentford to set up a fifth-round clash with Middlesbrough.
A report yesterday claimed Terry, who made his third start under Benitez following a knee injury sustained in November, and the Spaniard clashed earlier this month, but both parties branded it “rubbish” and were adamant they were on good terms.
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“We were surprised today with some comments,’’ said Benitez, who kept Chelsea on course for a fifth FA Cup triumph in seven seasons.
“It’s totally rubbish. We didn’t have any problem. He was training yesterday, we had normal conversations.
Everything was fine. I was really surprised.’’ Following the Europa League win at Sparta Prague, where Terry was an unused substitute for a fifth time under Benitez, the interim boss described the captain’s bid for fitness as a “vicious circle” and insisted he must train regularly and then attain match fitness before being considered for selection with Gary Cahill, Branislav Ivanovic and David Luiz.
“He’s quite positive,’’ Benitez said. ‘‘He knows that the main thing is the team winning and if he can play, much better.’’ Terry told ITV: “It was good to get on the scoresheet and good to be back.
“The manager knows me and I want to play. I have been out for two or three months, but the other two (centrebacks) have been doing well.
It’s good to have competition.’’ The match was played in front of Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, present for the first time since the defeat of Arsenal, and Lampard again had an impact, closing in on Bobby Tambling’s club goalscoring record despite his future being uncertain.
The midfielder has been the subject of contradictory reports over whether he will be offered the chance to extend his 12-year stay beyond the end of the season.
Asked again about Lampard’s future, Benitez, who did not have a chance to speak to Abramovich immediately after the game, said: ‘‘Every time I will give the same answer.
“He’s doing well, he’s scoring goals. Hopefully he can score another 15 until the end (of the season).
‘‘We’ll be really pleased if he can carry on scoring goals.
It will be good for him, good for the team and good for everyone.’’