John Terry says Chelsea's 30-somethings still have a number of good years ahead of them.
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Chelsea captain and England defender Terry remains irritated at suggestions that time may be running out for some players.
Terry, 30, believes the reigning champions can kick on after the emphatic 4-0 victory against Bolton and mount a serious challenge to Manchester United and others.
Asked if the group had a future beyond this season, he said: "I certainly hope so. We all realise we are a small squad and the club are looking at different options. I don't want to get into that but, what I will say, if the group has to stay together for the rest of the season we will definitely be right up there.
"We were reading that people don't fear us any more. The message in the dressing room is 'don't fear us at your peril'. People were saying things that we showed great experience with the players we have in the squad. Three months later we are all too old.
"We have players who are 30, 31, 32. We have young blood coming through as well. We have a great mix of players. One thing you cannot take away from the squad is that winning mentality. That rubs off on everyone coming into the group. You have to win in training, you have to win in games.''
Terry also believes striker Didier Drogba is back to his best after a bout of malaria. Drogba made the breakthrough against Bolton with a magnificent opening goal from 30 yards. Florent Malouda, Nicolas Anelka and Ramires also got in on the scoring act to hand the team their first win on the road since October. Terry highlights their attacking options - and having Drogba up and running again.
It was his 10th goal of the campaign - he scored 37 last season - and Terry said: "I think he is over the malaria now. I have never had it myself but speaking to people and the doctor here, it does knock you for six. Fair play to him, he could have taken two months out but he never did, he wanted to keep on fighting for the team.''