Jose Mourinho has confirmed that his decision to leave captain John Terry on the bench for Saturday’s Premier League clash with Arsenal was a tactical one.
Chelsea have made a terrible start to their Premier League title defence, picking up a meagre four points from five matches heading into the match with Arsene Wenger’s side at Stamford Bridge.
Terry started on the bench as Chelsea rediscovered the winning feeling with a 4-0 Champions League triumph over Maccabi Tel Aviv in midweek and Mourinho confirmed that his continued selection of Gary Cahill and Kurt Zouma at centre-back had nothing to do with the 34-year-old’s fitness levels.
“John is what you like to call a technical or a tactical decision,” Mourinho told BT Sport in a pre-match interview
“I have three central defenders, I trust them the same.
“But I try to read the game, I try to read the opponent, I try to predict what the opponent can be and we decided to go with Zouma and Gary.”
Given the presence of nimble attackers Theo Walcott and Alexis Sanchez in the Arsenal forward line, Mourinho’s explanation echoed his reasoning for substituting Terry at half-time during Chelsea’s 3-0 loss at Manchester City last month.
“It was just a decision,” he told Sky Sports, having replaced Terry with Zouma on that occasion.
“I know that Zouma is the fastest defender we have in the squad. In that moment, Manchester City were going to play counter-attacking. I knew they were going to play long balls to Sergio Aguero. Zouma is a different player to John Terry and Gary Cahill.”