at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
London – John Terry rubbished reports of a rift in his relationship with Rafael Benitez after the Chelsea captain marked his return to the side with a goal in Sunday's 4-0 win over Brentford.
Terry had started only two games since Benitez took over as Chelsea's interim manager earlier this season as he struggled to fully recover from a knee injury suffered in November.
Benitez had insisted Terry wasn't fit enough to start and it had been widely speculated that the former England international was at loggerheads with the Spaniard over his reduced role.
A report on Sunday claimed Terry and Benitez clashed earlier this month after Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic were selected ahead of him, but the centre-back was quick to dismiss the accusation during a television interview following the fourth round replay at Stamford Bridge.
“It was good to get on the scoresheet and good to be back,” Terry told ITV.
“The manager knows me and I want to play. I have been out for two or three months (with a knee injury), but the other two (centre-backs) have been doing well. It's good to have competition.
“I read those stories in the paper but it is completely lazy journalism. The other two players have been playing well and I've been out for a few months. It's complete rubbish.”
Benitez also made it clear he had no problem with Terry, who has been runoured in the past to have provoked dressing room discord to destabilise previous Chelsea managers, when asked about his relationship with the defender.
“I was surprised by some comments in the newspapers. They were totally ludicrous,” Benitez said.
“We have had some conversations and have been talking about football, He is quite clever and understands everything.
“Clearly you can see, he's on the pitch, he's training.” – Sapa-AFP