Stamford Bridge players had a showdown with boss after Manchester City defeat.
Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez has played down a dressing room showdown with his players – including captain John Terry – and described it is a “brief exchange of ideas”.
It was reported that Benitez and Terry were involved in a bust-up in the away dressing room at the Etihad Stadium after Chelsea slipped to a 2-0 defeat to Manchester City to leave the Champions League qualification hopes hanging in the balance still.
The result could have been different had Frank Lampard not seen a penalty saved by Joe Hart with the scores still level and the Chelsea players, led by captain Terry, are said to have responded angrily to criticism from Benitez in the dressing room afterwards.
But, speaking to reporters ahead of Chelsea’s FA Cup fifth round clash with Championship side Middlesbrough on Wednesday, Benitez described the incident as something of nothing but did not deny it had taken place.
“This was a normal meeting between players and technical staff, which happens after every game, it was normal talk, nothing else. You show your disappointment, that is normal,” Benitez said.
“I can understand the frustrations of Terry, he is an important player for us and has been injured with his knee.
“It was very brief exchange of ideas, and that is it, nothing else. It is just a team talk after a defeat. We had a meeting on the pitch with my players and technical staff, which is part of our business. Now we have to move on and start thinking about Middlesbrough.”
Benitez has been under fire from the Chelsea faithful since taking over the reins at Stamford Bridge an interim manager until the end of the season following the dismissal of crowd favourite Roberto Di Matteo.
His mixed results and the misfiring form of his players has heaped further pressure on him and almost certainly means he will not land the job on a permanent basis in the summer.