Boost for Chelsea ahead of pivotal Champions League clash
By Chelsea correspondent Tony Hughes
John Terry has returned to training to hand under-fire Jose Mourinho a major boost ahead of Chelsea’s Champions League decider against Porto on Wednesday, Football Insider sources understand.
Terry, who celebrated his 35th birthday on Monday, was welcomed back to the first-team fold alongside Brazilian midfielder Ramires for a morning session at the Blues’ Cobham headquarters on Monday.
A Chelsea dressing-room source told Football Insider the duo are now in contention to return to the side in a match in which they need at least a draw to guarantee progress to the last-16 stage in Europe’s premier competition.
Terry has missed Chelsea’s last two games – Saturday’s 1-0 defeat by Bournemouth and the goal-less draw with Tottenham the previous weekend – with an ankle injury suffered against Maccabi Tel Aviv at the end of last month.
He trained early last week but was not ready to return in time for the Bournemouth setback. Ramires is back after missing the last three matches.
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But both were back in training with the rest of the squad as they looked to bounce back straight away from a defeat that could have consequence for Mourinho’s job prospects.
The Chelsea manager admitted after Saturday’s defeat that the team are in serious danger of missing out on a top-four finish this season and suggested a top-six place might be a more realistic target.
As revealed by Football Insider on Sunday night, Mourinho will take charge of Chelsea against Porto as Roman Abramovich gives the Portugese a stay of execution.
Chelsea will top Group G with a win on Wednesday night, while a draw will be enough to secure second place if Dynamo Kiev beat whipping boys Maccabi.
But a defeat against Mourinho’s former club would most likely send the faltering champions into the Europa League and the fixture-list nightmare of Thursday and Sunday fixtures in the second half of the season.