John Terry earned the 13th major winner’s medal of his 20-year Chelsea career on Sunday with a commanding defensive performance and his first Cup goal, then urged his young team mates to use the win over Tottenham as a springboard to more success.
The 34-year-old central defender lifted the League Cup — his 12th trophy as captain — after scoring just before halftime in a 2-0 Wembley win.
“That could be the start of something very good but we have to kick on and we have the league to focus on,” said Terry, who earned the man-of-the-match award.
Terry’s towering performance neutralised the attacking threat of Tottenham’s prolific striker Harry Kane, who scored twice in Spurs’ 5-3 league triumph over their London rivals on New Year’s Day.
Central defensive partner Gary Cahill hailed Terry’s performance.
“He was fantastic today,” Cahill told reporters. “He gave us the first goal and that was crucial — it always is in a final and today John managed to get that, but not just the goal but just his defending in general today.”
Terry recalled Chelsea’s League Cup victory 10 years ago, the first trophy for Jose Mourinho in his first spell with the club. The captain was man-of-the match then and Chelsea went on to win their first league title for 50 years.
“It’s the first trophy, it’s massive,” Terry told Sky Sports. “It meant an awful lot to us (to win the League Cup) in 2004-05 in Jose’s first year here.
Mourinho returned in 2013 and Chelsea failed to win silverware in his first season back. But they are five points clear at the top of the Premier League, aided by Manchester City dropping points against Liverpool on Sunday.
They are also poised at 1-1 against Paris St Germain going into the home leg of the first knockout round of the Champions League so there is a lot for the players to “kick on” for.
Mourinho chose to play 20-year-old defender Kurt Zouma out of position in a holding midfield role to cover for the suspended Nemanja Matic and the young Frenchman rose to the occasion.
“Kurt played in a position he’s not used to and was fantastic as well,” said Cahill. “I’m thrilled. It’s amazing for us and it gives us a positive to move forward.”
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