Chelsea captain John Terry paid special tribute to out-going manager Roberto Di Matteo in his programme notes ahead of yesterday's Premier League 0-0 draw with Manchester City.

The 31-year-old defender is currently sidelined due to a knee injury, but took time to praise the Italian tactician, who was sacked after a poor run of form that saw the Blues win just two of their last eight games in all competitions.

"It has been a difficult week all round both on and off the pitch," said Terry. "I want to say that it was a privilege to play for Robbie.

"I had the pleasure, as a YTS player growing up, of watching and learning from him and to go on and play under him as captain was an honour."

Roman Abramovich sacked Di Matteo after the club's 3-0 Champions League defeat against Juventus last week. It was the final straw that left Chelsea's hopes of progression to the last-16 hanging by a thread, and prompted the interim arrival of Rafael Bentiez, on a contract until the end of the season.

Many view Di Matteo's departure as harsh treatment by the Stamford Bridge owner, after he parted company with the club he represented as a player between 1996 and 2000, just six months after lifting the European crown.

"To win two competitions last season, including the Champions League that we had wanted for so long, was incredible," Terry added.

"Robbie is a great man and an absolute legend. We wish him every success in the future, because saying thanks doesn't seem enough."

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