Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola has backed the club’s decision to retain John Terry as captain.
The former England international will miss the weekend clash against Manchester United as part of his four-match suspension for racially abusing QPR defender Anton Ferdinand in a Premier League match at Loftus Road last year.
But, whilst Zola understands the reasons behind why people want Terry removed from the position at Stamford Bridge, he’s happy to voice his support in favour of the 31-year-old former teammate.
“John certainly has made many mistakes in his career, like many others, but he has also done very good things,” the Watford manager told the Evening Standard.
“The problem sometimes is that it is easier to pick up on the wrong things than the right ones. I’m not saying this just because he is somebody I know and respect. I have no issue with him being captain — the way he conducts himself on the pitch, the bravery he shows, he is a leader. If the manager decides to keep him as captain, he can do that.
“I understand why people have that opinion [that he should not be captain] but we are talking about a person who I care a lot about, so it doesn’t come easy for me to come into it because it feels like I am judging him. John can be controversial but he is still a fantastic professional. He is an incredible leader on the pitch and I have to stick to that picture I have of him.”
Despite seeing the Blues lose against Shaktar Donetsk in the Champions League on Tuesday night, Zola was also quick to heap praise on the performances of Roberto Di Matteo’s side in the league this season.
Chelsea have a four-point cushion over Manchester United and Manchester City at the top of the table, and their style of play has brought with it genuine optimism that the title could return to west London once again this season.
“The way Chelsea are playing in the League is quite impressive. They have become quite an offensive team, something Chelsea have never been, and it’s nice to watch,” he concluded in the interview.
“It’s a massive test (against Manchester United) because their forward play will be tested by the hardest team to beat in the league. If they come through it, people will have to take them seriously in the title race and I believe they can win.”