John Terry is more determined than ever to lead Chelsea into next year's Champions League after regretfully having to hand the trophy back.
Terry and Frank Lampard, who jointly lifted the cup in Munich last May, handed the silverware over to UEFA president Michel Platini in a symbolic ceremony in London. To secure place among the elite next season, Chelsea, currently third, must retain their place in the top four of the Barclays Premier League.
"To hand it back has been very sad. It is a trophy we worked so hard for. To come here and hand it back not even a year on has made us doubly determined to cement our place in the Champions League for next season," Terry said.
"The players are happy where we are in the league at the moment. To be able to strengthen and keep the existing players we have got, we have to cement that."
Terry denied he had contradicted Chelsea's interim manager Rafael Benitez, who had cast doubt over his fitness after a season disrupted by a knee injury.
The defender said he accepted Benitez's rotation policy but would always be available to play.
"There has been a lot made of it. Even today. I didn't speak out against the manager at all. I am fit, I have been fit," Terry said. "There is nothing to read into it. If the manager chooses not to play me that is his preference and I have no qualms about that because the two or three guys in front of me are world-class players".
Terry courted controversy at the handover when his simmering resentment towards the Football Association saw him snub the governing body's chairman David Bernstein's attempt to shake hands.
Bernstein shook hands with members of a group of Chelsea players including Branislav Ivanovic, Fernando Torres and Petr Cech, but Terry kept his hands firmly by his sides. The Chelsea captain later confirmed that he had rejected Bernstein's attempt to shake hands.
Bernstein was the man who stripped Terry of the England captaincy after he was charged with racially abusing QPR's Anton Ferdinand. Terry was cleared at Westminster Magistrates Court of making a racist insult to Ferdinand, but was charged by the FA and banned for four matches.