Chelsea captain John Terry and interim boss Rafa Benitez have denied rumors that they have fallen out with each other.
The Blues manager told reporters on Thursday that the center back was no longer a guaranteed starter at the club, and reports on Sunday had suggested that a rift had developed between the pair. Terry was quick to play that down, though.
"It's complete rubbish," Terry told ITV after Sunday's 4-0 win against Brentford in their FA Cup fourth-round replay. "There's stories today in the papers, but it's complete lazy journalism. The manager knows me and knows I want to play but I've been out for three or four months but the other two [Branislav Ivanovic and Gary Cahill] have been doing well so there's a lot of competition in the side and we'll all fight for it.
"There's no complaints from me."
Benitez echoed his captain's words, declaring: "I'm really surprised because I didn't read the press, they told me.
"It's rubbish, clearly you can see he is on the pitch and he is training and is working with the rest of the team. So it's in the end it's something you have to decide but it's OK."
Terry scored Chelsea's fourth goal to cap off the fourth-round replay victory and seal the Blues' place among the final 16 teams. They will play Middlesbrough with an eye on maintaining their 2012 FA Cup title defense.
"First half, they made it very difficult, with two banks of four sat very deep. But when the first goal came, it was sure to come, the second and third," Terry said. "I've got a good scoring record in the FA Cup so it's good to get on the scoresheet. It's just good to be back playing - every player wants to play.
"We've had a couple of wins and, in three competitions, we'll keep plugging away. We've got another tough game on [Thursday in the Europa League against Sparta Prague], which we'll put ourselves through and we'll keep trying to progress in every competition."
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