Guus Hiddink has expressed his sadness that John Terry is set to be denied a proper Chelsea send-off after his red card at Sunderland.
The former England defender, who has been tipped to leave Stamford Bridge in the summer, will serve a two-match suspension after collecting two late yellow cards in the dramatic 3-2 Premier League defeat at the Stadium of Light on Saturday.
That means the 35-year-old Chelsea great will miss the midweek trip to Liverpool, and the final day visit of Premier League champions Leicester City, bringing an abrupt end to a near two-decade career at the London club which has seen him make more than 700 appearances since his debut in 1998.
With his contract set not to be renewed when it expires after this season, Terry looks to have played his 489th and final league game for Chelsea, the only club he has represented as a professional, before he seeks a new challenge as he considers lucrative offers to play in China and North America.
Terry has won the Champions League, Europa League, four Premier League titles — including last season’s championship — and five FA Cups during a glittering career at Stamford Bridge that has also seen him capped 78 times by England.
Criticizing referee Mike Jones’s decision to award Terry a second yellow card for an injury-time foul on Sunderland goalscorer Wahbi Khazri, interim Chelsea manager Hiddink said: “If he doesn’t play for Chelsea again, it is sad.
“Of course, we don’t know what his future is, but for this season it’s sad.
“It would have been lovely to have the last game at home against the champions, to have a very nice ‘party game’, so it’s sad he’s not participating in that. I’ve not had chance to speak to him yet, everyone was just sitting and staring in the dressing room afterwards.”
Refusing to confirm if the centre-back, who is set to join Chelsea’s lap of thanks to their fans after the Leicester match, had played his last game for the club, Hiddink said: “The referee was too close to the incident and for me it was an impulsive reaction to show a yellow.
“It was just a typical duel for the ball in the Premier League and I think had he been 10 yards further back he might not have made the decision.”
On a day to forget for Terry, he deflected a Fabio Borini shot into his own net as Sunderland twice came from behind to cancel out goals from Diego Costa and Nemanja Matic, with the hosts emerging victorious thanks to other efforts from Khazri and 15-goal top scorer Jermain Defoe.
With second-bottom Norwich losing on Saturday and Newcastle being held to a goalless draw at already-relegated Aston Villa, Sunderland climbed out of the bottom three thanks to only their fifth home win of the season.
Victory over Everton in their penultimate game on Wednesday will seal a 10th consecutive top flight campaign and a fourth straight ‘great escape’ from a Sunderland team that has turned brinkmanship into an art in recent campaigns.
It would also have the effect of relegating both Newcastle, their arch north-east rivals, and Norwich.
“It’s in our own hands now, and we’ll be gutted if we don’t see it through,” said Sam Allardyce, the Sunderland manager.
“We have to be professional and try and see the job through against Everton. We’ve put ourselves in a great position and the magnitude of this win was shown by the fact that we’ve only come from behind once before this season to win. So to do it against a side as good as Chelsea is magnificent.”
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