John Terry sat within inches of the Barclays Premier League trophy on Thursday and admitted he had still not got over Chelsea surrendering it to Manchester United last season.
But the Blues captain insisted that made him more determined than ever to get his hands on the title when the season gets under way this weekend. Chelsea went close to completing the greatest comeback in Premier League history last term but came up short as United were crowned English champions for a record 19th time.
However, Terry was confident history would not repeat itself this season and - speaking at the official launch of the 20th Premier League season - the defender said: "We can catch Manchester United. They have been the benchmark for 20 years. We pushed them to the end last season but missed out."
He added: "We all see their quality and the hunger they have and that the manager has too.
"It really drives me on and seeing them lift the trophy last year still hurts to this day.
"I want to get my hands back on it and lift it. The competition is improving every year. The players are getting stronger and the managers want it even more."
Terry will lead the deposed champions out at Stoke on Sunday for the first competitive game of the Andre Villas-Boas era.
The new Chelsea boss has already made a big impression on his players, masterminding a pre-season campaign that ended with a 100% record. That is in stark contrast to a year ago, when they lost all but one of their warm-up matches.
"The new manager has been great since he came in," said England captain Terry, who has already lifted the Barclays Asia Trophy this summer. "We had a great tour of Asia with all our games won. When Andre came in, he stressed the importance of winning.
"We only won one game last pre-season. That wasn't the best of starts, but he's come in and drummed it in to us from day one. Andre has brought in new and fresh ideas that will hopefully help us win this (trophy) at the end of the season."