Chelsea's John Terry fights for starting spot from Rafa Benitez
LONDON -- John Terry is prepared to bide his time as he battles to win back a regular starting place, the Chelsea captain said on Tuesday following reports of a dressing-room bust-up with interim manager Rafa Benitez.
Terry has endured a difficult season, missing two months with a knee injury sustained in November and then struggling to regain match fitness as well as his place in the starting lineup.
English media reported he had fallen out with Benitez, which the centre back and the Spanish coach both denied in the wake of Chelsea's emphatic 4-0 win over Brentford in their FA Cup fourth-round replay on Sunday.
Since returning to action in January, the 32-year-old Terry has found his route back into the starting lineup blocked by Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic.
"I'm not silly, I've been out for four months and the other two guys, Iva and Gaz, have been playing really well and both scoring goals as well, so it's going to be difficult for me to get back in," Terry said on the club website (www.chelseafc.com).
"Naturally I want to play games; the manager doesn't need to ask me that. I'm not one to go and knock the manager's door down, I respect the other players and I have to fight for my place again. I'm no different and I think it's important that comes across."
Terry scored Chelsea's fourth goal in Sunday's victory and hopes to have put his problems behind him after starting the club's last three games.
"It's been frustrating because I haven't been playing football. As a footballer you want to play games," he said.
"The injury just needed time, and that came to light after three or four weeks. I felt stiffness and it still wasn't right so I remained patient and it's been tough.
"(Now) I'm on the mend and back fit, and delighted to be back in the team."
© 2013 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.