Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho says he started with Kurt Zouma and not John Terry against Arsenal because the youngster was more suited to block striker Theo Walcott.
It was the first time the Portuguese opted not to pick the Englishman for a league match when fully fit.
But he defended his decision and praised the 34-year-old who is still a key element in his squad.
"John Terry doesn't need me to speak with him because he knows what I feel and think," Mourinho told reporters.
"He knows he's my man. If I have to choose one of 25 to be my man he's the first. He knows I care about him as a player and a person. He knows my decision had only one intention, which was to help my team win the match.
"I thought Arsenal would come to play a defensive game, with a very fast striker who gets behind people.
"If we didn't need to win the game so much we probably would have kept our block lower and more compact, but because we desperately needed a victory we couldn't wait, we had to bring our defensive line up.
"Playing against [Theo] Walcott, the best player we have is [Kurt] Zouma. John knows how I think and if he's normally a great captain, today he was even better.
"If every player had lots of respect for him, the way he's reacted in the last days to this situation, he has even more respect from the players. If you want to paint a dark picture, I ask you please don't because it's not the reality.
"He's in great condition and a great situation with the manager and club."