Premier League

Terry happy to bide his time

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Mon, 18 Feb 2013 16:58:00

Hull boss Steve Bruce is likely to be without defender Paul McShane for Blackburn's visit to the KC Stadium.

The Republic of Ireland international picked up a hamstring injury during the second half of Saturday's 1-0 win over Charlton and is a major doubt for the game.

Ahmed Fathi is in contention to start if McShane does not recover in time to feature.

Otherwise, Bruce looks set to keep faith in the same players that beat Charlton. Al Ahly loanee Gedo scored on his first start for the Tigers and will be hopeful of retaining his place in the starting line-up.

Defender Abdoulaye Faye continues to miss out as he recovers from a calf problem, while striker Sone Aluko remains sidelined with an Achilles injury.

Blackburn boss Michael Appleton has no new injury problems for the game.

Rovers recorded a memorable 1-0 FA Cup win over Arsenal at the weekend, although Appleton could look to rest aching limbs and bring recent loan recruits David Bentley, Karim Rekik and DJ Campbell into contention.

Former Manchester United forward Josh King is expected to remain sidelined due to a hamstring problem, but there is more positive news surrounding the club's other injury absentees.

Republic of Ireland international striker Leon Best is set to play for Blackburn's second-string against Sunderland on Monday evening - his first action since suffering knee ligament damage in a pre-season friendly with AEK Athens.

Dickson Etuhu (knee) and Adam Henley (hamstring) are due to step up their own rehabilitation alongside Best but none of the trio are in contention to feature at the KC Stadium.

Experienced duo Paul Robinson (back) and David Dunn (calf) remain on the sidelines.

The two teams will go head to head in the last 16 of the Champions League at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday night.

While the Gunners head into the European tie on the back of Saturday's deflating 1-0 home FA Cup defeat by Blackburn, and currently only fifth in the Premier League, Bayern look in ominous form.

Jupp Heynckes' men, runners-up to Chelsea in the Champions League final last season, are 15 points clear at the top of the Bundesliga having won all five of their matches since returning from the winter break, keeping seven clean sheets in the last eight.

Wenger, though, expects his team to rise above the negative headlines and step up to the formidable challenge which faces them on the pitch.

"What is important is that we focus on the quality of our game, that we play at our best and play with belief," said Wenger, who must do without full-back Nacho Monreal on Tuesday, the Spain international is cup-tied following his deadline-day transfer from Malaga.

"We have to put it in our head that we have 180 minutes to qualify and not to rush our game.

"If I listen to the questions, we are not favourites but I trust our quality, our spirit and our mental strength.

"It is always difficult to take a distance with the recent emotional fact, but the most important aspect is that we have a way to play which everyone in the teams know.

"We must play with a positive mentality, it is important you believe you have a good chance and quality enough to win.

"The psychological aspect, especially with what happened on Saturday, is more important than nothing else."

Wenger accepts Arsenal must give themselves something to take back to the Allianz Arena next month, especially given their poor general record away from home in the Champions League.

"It is vital because 0-0 at home is a very good result in the Champions League knockout stages, but of course we will try to score goals," he said.

"However, 0-0 is not a disaster at home, but of course we are a team who are offensive and we will try to go forward and try to score goals."

Following their unexpected defeat to Blackburn, just over two months after crashing out of the Capital One Cup on penalties against npower League Two Bradford, the Gunners now look set for another trophyless campaign - unless they can pull off a shock of their own and dump Bayern out of Europe to keep alive hopes of reaching Wembley in May.

Wenger said: "In Europe you face some teams with quality - Barcelona, Real Madrid, but they don't win it every year.

"We have consistently been in the quarter-final, semi-finals and also once the final, now we want to break through.

"We have people who will say it is not the best opportunity now to do it, but I think it is a fantastic opportunity because I feel I have a strong team, and I am sure I will be right."

Midfielder Mikel Arteta accepts Arsenal's players must shoulder their share of the responsibility for inconsistent displays.

"The last few big games we missed the first 20-25 minutes and then gave the opposition probably too much respect. We want to face a different scenario tomorrow and get into the game show that we want to win it," the Spaniard said.

"The table of the Premier League of first and second 45 minutes is very different. That shows our qualities are very good, because when teams tire a little bit we are able to [score], but also that we are not ready from the off to do what we want right from the start."

Arteta insists the team are ready to silence their doubters with a big performance against one of Europe's leading sides - just like when Barcelona were beaten at the Emirates Stadium two seasons ago.

"It gives you extra motivation because you are facing top players and a top club and you want to show how good you are against them," he said.

"We have a great test tomorrow and we want to face that with the maximum desire and a positivity around the squad and go out there and win it."

The 32-year-old defender made just his third start under interim boss Rafael Benitez on Sunday and scored the fourth goal as the FA Cup holders claimed a 4-0 win over Brentford to set up a fifth-round clash at Middlesbrough a week on Wednesday.

Terry suffered a knee injury prior to Benitez's appointment and a setback saw him miss the defeat of Wigan before he was an unused substitute, for a fifth time under the Spaniard, in the Europa League win at Sparta Prague.

The former England captain could yet return to the bench for Thursday's second leg with Sparta, with Sunday's Premier League clash at Manchester City the priority as Benitez bids to fulfil his brief of Champions League football next term.

"It is not about Rafa, me or Frank Lampard, it is not about anybody," said Terry, who denied a report of a bust-up with Benitez.

"It is about this football club winning games and if we are doing that, the fans are happy. That's all they want to see.

"If that's with me in the side, great. If not, then I will be their biggest supporter and I'll sit there and support the team like the fans will."

In front of owner Roman Abramovich, who was watching for the first time since the win over Arsenal, Juan Mata and Oscar scored before the old guard weighed in.

Lampard netted his 199th Chelsea goal, closing in on Bobby Tambling's club record of 202, despite continuing uncertainty over his future with his contract expiring this summer.

The "sign him up" chants left Abramovich in no doubt to the fans' preference on a day when Stamford Bridge was bathed in glorious spring sunshine and Benitez, with a third successive win, continued to turn the momentum following three wins in the previous 10 games.

Due to the Spaniard's association with Liverpool, he will likely never be a popular appointment - be it on his current caretaker basis or permanently, should Abramovich opt for that brave move this summer - but Benitez has Terry's support.

"If you are losing games, the pressure is on the manager," Terry said.

"He has to take responsibility because he is the one who picks the team. So if we are not [winning], as with all managers, it falls on his head, unfortunately.

"But if we are winning games, and hopefully we can do that, it takes the pressure off him."

Terry hopes to play his part in the season run-in, but knows he cannot demand a place in the side, given the form of Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic, plus the option of David Luiz, who Benitez appears to view more as a defensive midfielder.

"I'm not silly," Terry added. "I've been out for four months - the other two guys have been playing really well, so it is going to be difficult for me to get back in.

"Naturally I want to play games; the manager doesn't need to ask me that question to know what answer he is going to get.

"I am not one to go in and knock the manager's door down. I respect the other players.

"I have to fight for my place, the same as everyone. I think it is important that comes across from me directly.

"When you are playing for 10 years, you don't just get selected. You have to play well, train well and impress managers.

"The most frustrating thing was that when Rafa came in, I wasn't fit and I wasn't able to impress him and show what I am about.

"I have got a bit of catching up to do. He has not seen me at 100 per cent.

"I still need a couple of games, that is clear. But if I am called upon all I can do is come in and play well. There is no rift."

Terry has found the injury frustrating, though.

"It has been tough for me because it is the first time in my career that I've had an injury that has kept me out for so long," he said.

"It was a strange injury because the knee hyper-extended back and it stretched all the ligaments at the front and both sides of the knee. It just needed time. I just remained patient."

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