John Terry has defended Chelsea's conduct during their Champions League elimination after Paris St Germain talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic branded the Blues "babies".
Television pundits Graeme Souness and Jamie Carragher led the criticism of Jose Mourinho's players, nine of whom, led by Terry, surrounded Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers before the harsh dismissal of Ibrahimovic for a foul on Oscar after 31 minutes.
Despite playing with 10 men for an hour and a half, including in extra-time, PSG prevailed on away goals in an ill-tempered affair.
"Once they're charging the ref, the only thing we can do is respond," Terry said.
"You can't as a group of players let them surround the ref, trying to get our players booked.
"For me if I have to run 20, 30 yards, it doesn't look great but when you're standing back and seeing five or six of their players surrounding the ref, for me I think I support my team-mates.
"And once I go, four or five go with me, it doesn't look good at all but that's part of the game. We'll match it if people want to mix it, that's part of our game as well.
"You have to stick up for your team-mates. Every other side is as bad as each other. It's part of the game."
It is a part of the game many would wish to do without and, while Chelsea may have refused to be cowed by a team labeled the "most aggressive" the Blues had played this season, Mourinho's men deserved to bow out on away goals.
Twice PSG came from behind to earn a 2-2 draw, 3-3 on aggregate, and advance to the quarter-finals as Chelsea were left to concentrate on the Premier League.
The Blues are five points clear of second-placed Manchester City ahead of Sunday's clash with Southampton and have a game in hand on the holders.
Already this season Chelsea have seen an eight-point lead established and evaporate before opening up an advantage again.
It will be a test of Mourinho's mettle and man-management to ensure Chelsea deliver a first championship in five years.
Should the Blues be caught and miss out, only owner Roman Abramovich will know what the future would hold for Mourinho.
"We have to pick ourselves up and go again at the weekend now," Terry said.
"There's enough experience in the squad to rally round and get everyone going again.
"We've got the Capital One Cup in the pocket and the Premier League is a massive one to go for.
"The manager said then if we can win the Capital One Cup and the Premier League, it will be a very successful year.
"There is an awful lot to do but it's in our hands and we have to respond.
"We're a few points clear and we need to keep that gap and maintain it.
"We can only do that by responding and doing that the right way and coming back here and picking up three points.
"We've got another big game against a very good Southampton side.
"Southampton will come here playing on the front foot and, if we're not at it, we'll drop points and slip away in the Premier League."
Chelsea, winners in 2012 and semi-finalists last season, have often carried English interest in the Champions League.
Now, unless Manchester City or Arsenal, who play Barcelona and Monaco next week, can overturn first-leg deficits, there will be no Premier League representation in the last eight of Europe's elite competition.
Terry added: "We've had our fair share of maintaining interest for English sides in the competition over the years. It's different for us, we're normally in the hat for the next round.
"We're obviously really disappointed. We regroup and go again in this competition next season."
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