Jose Mourinho believes Chelsea’s policy of only offering one-year contract extensions to players over the age of 30 acts as a challenge to his squad.
Blues captain John Terry saw his contract run down to its final few weeks last year before eventually agreeing to remain at the club for a further 12 months.
Terry is now entering the latter stages of that deal but Mourinho has reassured fans by guaranteeing his skipper will stay at Stamford Bridge next season.
Concerns had arisen over the fitness of the former England defender under previous boss Rafa Benitez but Mourinho cannot understand Terry’s lack of games under the Spaniard.
The Special One says Terry accepted a challenge from the club by penning his last extension and he expects him to rise to the occasion again during the 2015-16 campaign.
Mourinho said: “We decide at a certain age to stimulate the players, to provocate the players, to make them feel the past doesn’t play a role. We want players always in the present and tomorrow.
“We give them one year of contract. If they don’t accept it is because they are not ready, they are not ready for the challenge. If they are not up for the challenge we don’t want them.
“John accepted the challenge last year and the fire is there. I think this contract will not be the last contract he signs.
“He surprised me because I have nothing in my hands to explain why he was not playing. Nothing in my hands that explains why he didn’t have his best two seasons before I arrive.
“I thought physically maybe he was suffering but step by step he was recovering his good feelings. This season is maybe even better than last season.”
Terry turned 34 in December but has not lost any of his appetite for the game.
The centre-half has thrived under the increased pressure on his place from Kurt Zouma but Mourinho is unsure quite when Terry will call time on his career.
“These ages I don’t know. It’s very difficult to predict. The kid [Zouma] help them because he stimulates them. The kid is there to play with lots of ambition.
“It’s good for them but also good for the kid.
"The guys have experience and want to help him. Zouma is playing even more than I thought. In pre-season I thought Ivanovic would be my first choice to replace them but not any more.”