By Editor Wayne Veysey | Former Evening Standard, Press Association and Goal chief correspondent with 17 years experience of breaking big stories, including exclusives like this

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John Terry told Jose Mourinho that he was not as special as he once was as the pair exchanged verbal blows in an explosive dressing-room row, Football Insider understands.

Mourinho gave Terry his assessment of the defender’s performances and the Chelsea captain responded with a no-holds-barred view of his recently-departed manager.

“Mourinho told Terry, ‘you are not the player you were when I was first here’,” a source close to the Portugese told Football Insider. “Terry replied to Mourinho, ‘you’re not the manager you were’.”

The astonishingly frank exchange took place earlier this season, in front of some of the other players, as the wheels started to come off Chelsea’s defence of their Premier League title.

Mourinho and Terry had been close during the manager’s trophy-laden first spell at Stamford Bridge from 2004-2007 and reignited their successful working relationship when the Portugese returned in 2013, culminating in last season’s title win by eight points.

But a rift developed between the pair after Mourinho substituted Terry at half-time in the Blues’ 3-0 defeat at Manchester City on 16 August.

Given Terry’s influence in bonding the dressing room, it had the knock-on effect of developing cliques and creating divisions between groups of players.

A Chelsea source has told Football Insider that the relationship between Mourinho and Terry was subsequently repaired but it demonstrated the extent of the “palpable discord between manager and players” which director Michael Emenalo highlighted on Thursday night as a key reason for the 52-year-old’s dismissal.

Deepening divisions: Jose Mourinho's relationship with John Terry has soured

Player discord: Jose Mourinho had a bust-up with John Terry before he was sacked

Terry used his personal account on social networking site Instagram on Friday to offer his gratitude for the role Mourinho had played in his career.

The former England defender posted: “Thank You doesn’t seem enough. Sad sad day. Gonna miss you Boss.

“The Very Best I have EVER worked with, unbelievable memories together #boss #friend #specialone #bestever”

Terry, who turned 35 earlier this month, is out of contract at the end of the season and is sweating on his future at the club he has spent his entire career.