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The returning Blues boss insists his title-winning captain isn't assured of a place in his first team and says he will pick his best players without considering status or the past

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has warned club captain John Terry that he will have to earn his place in the Blues' starting XI having found first-team opportunities more difficult to come by in 2012-13.

The former England captain found himself primarily among the substitutes during interim boss Rafa Benitez’s reign at Stamford Bridge, which led to criticism from the Chelsea faithful.

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But Mourinho, who isn't shy of leaving out fan favourites himself having dropped Iker Casillas for much of last season at Real Madrid, claims his selection will be based solely on who he thinks is in the best form.

"I am a coach who looks for a meritocracy," Mourinho told Punto Pelota. "Whoever I think is best must play - without looking at status or the past. You play as you train, it is a normal situation.

"As it was normal for me to leave [Marco] Materazzi, a mythical player at Inter Milan, on the bench. Or like Benitez this year at Chelsea with Terry.

"The fans can think that Iker is better than Diego [Lopez]. I accept that, but I am the coach. If they play or not, that is a problem for the player."

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