Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has explained that he took John Terry off at half time in Sunday’s 3-0 defeat to Manchester City because his captain was too slow to handle Sergio Aguero.
Terry was hooked at the interval and replaced in central defence by Kurt Zouma in a move Mourinho says was made to give Chelsea more pace at the back.
The decision to withdraw Terry was surprising, because Mourinho had never previously subbed the 34-year-old in a Premier League match.
However, Mourinho’s change is understandable, given how much trouble City striker Sergio Aguero, who broke the deadlock on 32 minutes, was causing the visitors’ defence with his speed of thought and foot.
When asked by Sky Sports reporter Geoff Shreeves if Terry had “any injury” when he was taken off, Mourinho replied: “No”.
Mourinho’s interview with Shreeves was transcribed by BBC Sport, who quote him as saying: “It was just a decision.
“Zouma is the fastest defender we have in the squad. I know Man City are going to play counter attack and Zouma is a different player to John and I was proven right because Zouma was in complete control.
“John is a player I have total trust for, with me he was never substituted. With other managers he was not selected and people thought his Chelsea career was over.
“If a manager has the right, I do, because I gave the chance to make him what he is, a fantastic player and a fantastic captain. I was proven right.”
Chelsea’s loss at City, coupled with their opening-day draw at home to Swansea, means that they have taken just one point from their opening two league games for the first time in 17 years.
The currently sit 16th in the Premier League table, five points behind leaders City.
Despite his team’s slow start to the campaign, Mourinho insists Chelsea can defend their title.
He added: “One point from six is better than zero and worse than two. I am okay in mathematics. Multiply 36 by three and I know how much it gives – I know the championship is more than mathematically open.”