Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho insists his relationship with John Terry is strong despite ongoing suggestions of a rift with his captain.
Terry, 34, played every minute of his side’s successful Premier League campaign last season, but he has already found himself slightly on the outer this term.
He was substituted at half-time against Manchester City, sent off at West Brom and watched his team’s Champions League win over Maccabi Tel Aviv on Wednesday from the bench.
Former Liverpool and England captain Steven Gerrard said there was a “bit of friction” between the pair, but Mourinho said those suggestions were unfair.
“I don’t think John deserves somebody to say he has a problem with me,” he said.
“I’m not even speaking about myself, I don’t care about myself.
“But I think a top professional like he is and the way he always behaves in this club with me, I don’t think he deserves any kind of doubt about what he is as a professional and as a captain in this club.”
Mourinho defended his selection decisions, saying Terry understood why his playing time had lessened early in the campaign.
The Portuguese tactician, whose struggling side host Arsenal on Saturday, said his methods had remained the same.
“For John the situation with me hasn’t changed since 2004. It is exactly the same situation and the situation is clear for him since 2004,” Mourinho said.
“I make my options, I play who I want, I don’t care what you say about it, you media pundits. I don’t think about the consequences.
“I play the player I think is the best for that game for that moment and John has known that since 2004.”