Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho described John Terry as his go-to man despite leaving the captain on the bench in their derby win over Arsenal.
Terry has been publicly backed by his manager after suggestions a rift had developed between the two due to the defender’s lack of playing time.
The veteran was left on the bench at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, with Kurt Zouma preferred, as Chelsea claimed a much-needed 2-0 win against Arsenal.
Mourinho said he had no reason to explain his decision to Terry, who he described as the man he always turned to.
“John Terry doesn’t need me to speak with him because he knows what I feel, what I think,” he told a news conference.
“He knows the relationship, he knows that he’s my man. He knows that if I need to choose one out of 25 to be my man, he’s the first.
“He knows that I care about him as a person, as a player.”
Mourinho said his decision to leave Terry out was tactical, with Theo Walcott’s pace a worry if the 34-year-old started alongside Gary Cahill.
The Portuguese tactician believes the respect for Terry should only have grown early in the season.
“He knows that nothing is a risk, he knows that my decision only had one intention, which was to help my team to win the match,” Mourinho said.
“I thought that Arsenal was coming, playing a defensive game, with a very fast striker that gets behind people.
“If we don’t need to win the game so much, probably we would keep our block lower and more compact.
“Because we desperately need a victory, we couldn’t wait, we had to bring our defensive line up and to play against Theo Walcott the best player we have is Zouma.
“And John knows the way I think and if he’s always a fantastic captain, I think today he was even better.
“If every player has lots of respect for him, the way he’s reacted in the last days to this situation, he has even more respect from the players.
“If you want to paint a dark picture, I ask you please don’t do it because it’s not the reality. He’s in great condition and in a great situation with the manager and with the club.”