Rafael Benitez has revealed spoke with John Terry and Frank Lampard after taking over as Chelsea boss to ensure he had their backing.
The former Liverpool manager was an unpopular replacement to Roberto Di Matteo for the fans, following a fierce rivalry after the arrival of Jose Mourinho in west London.
And the Spanish boss says that he sought out the captain and vice-captain after joining the club to outline his commitment to the cause.
“I had a conversation at the beginning with Frank and Terry,” Benitez told reporters.
“They were injured and we spent time in the dressing room while the team were doing the warm up.
“We were talking about the rivalry and the mentality from before. At Liverpool, I had at that time, a good mentality – a winning mentality. They have, and had, a winning mentality.
“That is positive and I told them that, together, we will be better than we were when we were on different sides.”
Lampard is set to return to the Chelsea squad for the visit to Sunderland, but will be without captain Terry, who will also miss the Club World Cup to continue rehabilitation on his right knee, injured in the clash against Liverpool in November.
Benitez continued: “There’s inflammation, so flying will not be the best solution. (Terry) will not go.
“There was the problem with the knee and the doctor suggested it would be better for him to stay here.
“He wanted to go, he wanted to help. But it’d be better for him to stay. We don’t know how long it will be before he is fit again.
“We’ll have to see how he reacts. He knows we have to be patient.”