JOHN Terry will play at Tottenham tomorrow night, in spite of the Crown Prosecution Service's decision to charge the Chelsea captain.
Andre Villas-Boas is backing his skipper to cope with flack he is bound to receive at White Hart Lane from Spurs fans and says criminal charges make no difference to his stance.
“I will be fully supportive of John Terry, whatever the outcome,” The Chelsea boss confirmed just an hour before the announcement was made to pursue the defender through the courts for alleged racist comments made at QPR's Anton Ferdinand in October.
“He has my full support and he has the club's full support. He represents this club to a maximum level and we are very grateful to have a player of his quality in our team and what he represents in terms of history and achievements within the club.
“We know exactly his human values and his personalty and for me they are never in doubt.
“It's a difficult environment on every Premiership pitch, so I wouldn't say that for a player of John's experience that it will be a problem.”
If Villas-Boas was thinking of taking the heat off Terry by dropping him, his hand is forced to an extent because of the lack of options.
David Luiz is injured and Alex will not be recalled to the first team, even in an emergency, given his banishment from the squad since putting in a transfer request.
Probably only Oriol Romeu could play as a makeshift centre half and there is relief that the ankle injury Terry picked up in training on Monday is not serious. Ramires is also available.
The Blues have not won in the league at the Lane since 2005, whereas victories used to be commonplace and the Portuguese expects another stiff test.
“Tottenham is one of the most difficult places to go, no doubt about it. It's one of those places where the crowd gets behind the team,” Villas-Boas said. “It will be a massive challenge, for sure.”
“They have made their title contention quite open to the public and I'm sure that they are contenders. With Tottenham having a game in hand, it's important for us to try to get something out of it. We expect to do our job.
“It's a massive game. It represents a great history and tradition in the Premier League between the two London clubs and I would say it's important for us to try to win the game to keep our title hopes alive.”
Spurs will be without Aaron Lennon and Gareth Bale is doubtful, but Villas-Boas says Harry Redknapp's squad squad has enough quality to still make life very difficult.
“Those two players are key players for Tottenham – pretty much identified with the culture of the club and with the philosophy Harry Redknapp as quick, explosive players. But I'm sure Harry has enough solutions.”