TOP MAN TERRY'S SIMPLY THE BEST; Mourinho: 'He Is My Voice, My Leader. He's Absolutely Amazing' * Confident Jose Also Claims That 'Lampard Is Better Than Gerrard'

Daily Mail (London), January 1, 2005 | Go to article overview

TOP MAN TERRY'S SIMPLY THE BEST; Mourinho: 'He Is My Voice, My Leader. He's Absolutely Amazing' * Confident Jose Also Claims That 'Lampard Is Better Than Gerrard'


Byline: STEVE CURRY

JOHN TERRY, the man who marshals the meanest defence in English football-was yesterday hailed as the best defender in Europe by his admiring manager Jose Mourinho.

Before Chelsea headed for Anfield for today's lunchtime match, Mourinho also claimed that Frank Lampard is a better midfield player than Steven Gerrard.

As usual the Portuguese coach was not lost for a few words as he looked ahead to Chelsea's fifth game this season against opposition from the recognised Big Five Premiership clubs.

Already they have beaten Manchester United, Liverpool and Newcastle United at Stamford Bridge and drawn with Arsenal away and Mourinho is in no doubt that part of the reason is the stature of his captain, affectionately known at Chelsea as JT.

'John Terry for me is the best defender in Europe,' said Mourinho emphatically. 'I know that Alex Ferguson would say Rio Ferdinand is and Carlo Ancelotti would say Alessandro Nesta is.

But for me it has to be Terry.

'From the first minute I arrived here he has played at the same high level.

No ups and downs, no mistakes and no difference in his concentration whether we are playing Manchester United or West Bromwich Albion. Not because he prefers to play against tall and strong strikers or finds it difficult against small and quick ones. To him every game is the same and every opponent is the same. His level of performance is always the same. He leads the team.' The proof lies in the statistics.

Chelsea have conceded only eight goals in 20 league matches this season and the defence has kept a remarkable 15 clean sheets - outstanding defending by any criterion. Mourinho believes it is partly to do with the way Terry organises when Chelsea are not in possession of the ball.

'He is an important voice on the pitch, where I am unable to be,' he said.

'I think he is absolutely amazing. I have watched him play for the England national team where he is not the captain and has other responsibilities. His level of performance is the same.

'So for me he is the most complete player, the best one. In some football clubs the captain is the choice of the manager, in others he would be the players' choice and in others he would be captain because he has been at the club for 10 years.

'John is all of those. He is the choice of the players. He is also my man. I trust him completely and he has the same relationship with me. But he is captain as well because, unlike all the others, he has come through the club's youth system. In one person we have the complete captain and I believe it is very difficult for a club to be successful without a big voice.

'I was listening the other day to Matt Le Tissier talking about Southampton.

He was saying he didn't think there was a strong voice on the pitch for the club.

'I have one in John Terry and another in Frank Lampard and some of the other guys. …

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