As John Terry was left on the bench for Chelsea's Europa League clash at Sparta Prague on Thursday evening, Rafael Benitez has risked further wrath from the club's fans by warning Terry he's not guaranteed to start.
Speaking after the game, Benitez said: "John Terry has to work to get back. Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic are doing really well together."
Despite Terry declaring himself fit ahead of the game, Benitez voiced concerns over Terry’s fitness and has refused to give the 32-year-old defender any assurances over his long-term future.
Benitez said: "During the week he had another setback with his knee. Then he was fine again and had no reaction in the next training session."
Terry has started just two out of Chelsea’s last 25 games since picking up an injury in his right knee while tackling Liverpool’s star striker Luis Suarez on November 17.
And whilst Benitez admitted that Terry needs game time to improve his fitness, he conceded that it's a catch-22 situation.
"He (Terry) has to train more with the team, then he will have more options to play. It's a vicious circle. If he cannot play he cannot improve his match fitness."
On the pitch, Oscar scored the all important away goal for the Blues in the 82nd minute to give Benitez's side a 1-0 win, having come off the bench.
Benitez is confident his side have what it takes to progress to the next round of the Europa League after their first leg success.
He added: "We have the advantage and must have confidence we can finish the job next week."
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