Given baffled by boos for Bridge

Given baffled by boos for Bridge

Published Feb. 28, 2010 4:05 p.m. ET

Manchester City goalkeeper Shay Given says he fails to understand why Chelsea fans booed Wayne Bridge before Saturday's Stamford Bridge clash.

However much they want it to, it seems the stigma surrounding Terry and Bridge is not going to die down for a little while yet.

After the Premier League meeting between the Blues and City, Carlo Ancelotti and Roberto Mancini attempted to draw a line under the whole saga.

Others are not quite so keen. Given bemoaned the reception Bridge received at his former club, while pundit Alan Shearer called for the full-back to reverse the decision to turn his back on England.

And Craig Bellamy ignited his own personal feud with Terry with a devastating broadside.

"Everybody in football knows what the guy is like. But that's off the field," declared Bellamy after his two-goal salvo in an extraordinary 4-2 win for City against the Premier League leaders.

Yet even the merest hint of criticism aimed at their hero seems to upset the Chelsea faithful.

After declaring there was no chance Terry would captain England again, Fabio Capello would presumably get jeered.

There can be no other explanation for Bridge - a former Chelsea player - being so mercilessly booed after the most famous handshake snub football has ever known.

"I don't know why the crowd reacted the way it did," said a bemused Given. "I don't see what he has done wrong."

It is a fairly poor state of affairs if an alleged dalliance between the mother of your son and a one-time close friend, followed by a personal decision to step down for World Cup duty to benefit England as a whole, results in jeers.

That is what happened, though. And now that it has, as a former England captain, Shearer hopes Bridge will reconsider.

"I fully understand why he does not want to be considered for next week's squad," said the former Three Lions skipper.

"I just hope in 10 years' time he doesn't regret not going to the World Cup.

"In time, the hurt might reduce and I think he should reconsider."

Once Wednesday's friendly with Egypt is out of the way, Capello is intent on persuading Bridge to do just that.

In the meantime, the Italian might take some time to lift the spirits of Terry, who, after initially responding with fortitude to the maelstrom that erupted around him, has now suffered a major dip in form.

Ancelotti absolved Terry from any blame for Saturday's debacle, although, as he did the same for goalkeeper Hilario, that is not necessarily an accurate reflection of events.

At best, the defender's performances are lacking conviction, which, given leading from the front is such an integral part of his game, is a fairly significant drawback.

If that was Ancelotti's only problem, he could get away with emerging from a game in which his side surrendered an early lead, a 37-match unbeaten home record and two of their players to red cards, by citing Chelsea's single-point advantage over Manchester United as reason enough to be cheerful.

But there are a few others, which go far beyond the fact Arsenal, now only one win adrift, have a significantly easier run-in to negotiate.

"We have to maintain trust in our quality," said Ancelotti.

"We knew how important this match was but we didn't play well. We have to avoid these kind of mistakes in the future."

As one of the mistakes involved Michael Ballack - who had already been booked - crashing straight into the back of Carlos Tevez, a lack of discipline can be claimed.

Ballack and Juliano Belletti will now not figure in Sunday's FA Cup quarter-final against Stoke.

Hilario presumably will, making the next four weeks as Petr Cech recovers from a calf problem a time for trepidation.

"I do not want to criticise Hilario," said Ancelotti, knowing the Portugal keeper is bound to be singled out for City's first two goals, which changed the course of a game that for 40 minutes looked certain to end in a home victory.

The form of Joe Cole continues to cause concern, too, in addition to that of John Obi Mikel.

Meanwhile, United and Arsenal are rapping at the door, demanding to be let in.

"It is more difficult than it was but we are still one point in front. We have to remember that," added Ancelotti.