Jose Mourinho heaped praise on John Terry calling him Chelsea’s most consistent performer this year but will rest his captain ahead of their clash with Arsenal next week, according to the London Evening Standard.

The west London side travel to Sunderland for their Capital One Cup quarter-final tomorrow night and return to the venue where they won a thrilling league fixture 3-4 earlier this month.

Mourinho, who won the competition with Chelsea in 2005, wants an ageing Terry fully fit for their Premier League match against leaders Arsenal and will not risk his captain.

Speaking to the London Evening Standard, the Chelsea manager said of Terry: “He is very solid, very focused. With the ball he always makes the right choice and without the ball he’s very focused. He is having a very good season and let’s see if he can keep going because he has been fantastic.”

If Terry is rested, David Luiz will deputise but Chelsea will wait to see if Gary Cahill can pass a fitness test before selecting a centre-back partner.

Cahill has missed the last two matches with a quad injury and if he is unavailable Branislav Ivanovic may move centrally and Cesar Azpilicueta placed at right-back.

Ashley Cole could also return to the side at left-back as Chelsea bid to make the semi-finals for the second successive year.

For Gus Poyet’s Sunderland the cup competition is a welcomed distraction from the league.The Black Cats sit bottom of the Premier League with nine points from 16 games after their dull 0-0 draw away to West Ham at the weekend.

The North East side defeated Southampton in the last round at the Stadium of Light. Lee Cattermole is expected to keep his place in the starting line-up from the weekend after returning from suspension.

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