Antonio Conte Explains Why he Substituted John Terry in the 26th Minute While at Chelsea

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Former Chelsea coach Antonio Conte has revealed that it was a mutual understanding between him and Chelsea’s legend, John Terry to be substituted in the 26th minute in the match against Sunderland three years ago.

Conte, who is now a coach of Italian Serie A side Inter Milan said John Terry chose that time of the match to be substituted because that was his squad number. The match which was played at Stanford Bridge was also used to give the Chelsea legend who is now an assistant coach at Aston Villa, a befitting send-off.

“He decided he wanted this because 26 was his squad number and for me, it was a pleasure to give him this opportunity”, Antonio Conte told Sky Sports. “I will never be able to thank him enough. He was very important for me and our team.”

John Terry was a Top Man according to Antonio Conte

John Terry and Antonio Conte
John Terry and Antonio Conte

There is no captain Chelsea football club ever had that is as successful as Terry. He led the club to five Premier League titles, four FA Cups, three League Cups, one UEFA Europa League and one UEFA Champions League title.

Before he retired from the club in 2017, the 39-year-old football icon played over 500 matches for the club, making him one of the only 5 players at Chelsea to reach such a feat. In his final season at Chelsea in 2017 which was Antonio Conte’s first season at the club, Terry became the first-ever player to captain a team to the Premier League title on five occasions.

“It was a great privilege for me to be the coach of a Chelsea legend like John Terry,” Conte said. “We are talking about a top man, a really good man and then a top player. He helped me a lot in my first season in and out of the pitch.

“He was very important in the training ground, during the sessions to keep the concentration standards high.”

Despite winning the Premier League in his first season, and winning the FA Cup in his second season at Chelsea, Conte was dismissed as the manager of the club in July 2018. He had to wait until 31 May 2019 to get appointed to manage Inter Milan. But one of the matches Conte will never forget while at Chelsea was the 4-0 win over Manchester United in 2016.

“That game was important for us because when you win 4-0 against a top team it’s a boost because we understood very well that we could fight to win the league”, he said.

“This game gave us confidence and belief in ourselves and we created a fantastic relationship with our fans.”

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