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John Terry apologises for being sent off against Barca

Spain,Sports, Wed, 25 Apr 2012 IANS

Barcelona, April 25 (IANS) Chelsea's captain John Terry apologised to the fans and the club for a foolish off the ball foul that saw him given a straight red in Chelsea's 3-2 aggregate triumph against Barcelona in the Champions League at Camp Nou.


Terry kneed Chilean attacker Alexis Sanchez in the back and was sent off in the closing minutes of the first half in the second-leg semi-final which ended 2-2 Tuesday.


The Londoners progressed to the final of the tournament courtesy their 1-0 lead in the first leg. Terry will miss next month's final in Munich and either Real Madrid or Bayern Munich.


At first, Terry claimed he was innocent. "The player checked his run and piled into the back of me. He put his weight on the back foot, that's why my knee went up," Terry was quoted as saying by the Telegraph.


"I've not had a booking in the Champions League this year. I would not deliberately strike another player. That would be madness."


But after watching the incident on an TV replay, Terry admitted: "At the time, I was bewildered because I was trying to protect myself a little bit, but looking at it on the replay, I've no complaints. I've let the lads down."


"I deserved to be sent off. I tried to protect myself and raised my knee, but realise I should not have done. I'm not that type of player."


"I'm disappointed but delighted for the lads. To come here and play the way they did and get the result with 10 men - I feel I've let them down. I've apologised to them and I want to apologise to the fans as well."


Chelsea will also be without Branislav Ivanovic, Ramires and Raul Meireles, who are all suspended.


Frank Lampard, who was instrumental in Chelsea's progression to the final, will captain the team in Terry's absence and said that the triumph over Barcelona was "one of the finest moments in a Chelsea shirt" for him.


"I know people want to see beautiful football but with 10 men to play for 50 minutes and to be 2-0 down here and to perform like that - what spirit - unbelievable," Lampard said.


"There was a determination about us and you get what you deserve and we were all in it together today and what a fantastic result."


"Of course, Chelsea people have a lot of love and respect for Jose Mourinho but we are just delighted to go through," Lampard said.


Chelsea's interim manager Roberto Di Matteo exonerated Terry by saying "we're all human beings" and suggested his action may have been a result of Chelsea's gruelling schedule.


"We're put under pressure every three days," he said. "This was our fourth game in nine days, and everybody can make a mistake. We work as a group and we're delighted we've gone through."


Of Terry, he added: "He's obviously very sad and disappointed that he got sent off tonight, and won't be able to play in the final. But we're all delighted that Chelsea FC and all the players involved on the bench here, and those not on the bench, are going to be in the final.


"We have a good squad which we've been using. I'm sure we'll put a good team together.


"It was an incredible game. So many things happened. I'm happy and pleased for all the players because they deserved this.


"We've had a difficult season and we seem to always get something special out when we need to. That's part of the DNA of these players."


Di Matteo defended Chelsea's defensive tactics in the tie. "They are the best team in the world. They're amazing," he said of Barcelona.


"They have some of the best players in the world as well. The way we played and defended - we just showed a lot of desire to reach the final. We had a little bit of luck, but to win the trophy, you need that."


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