Sydney FC midfielder Terry Antonis swapped shirts with Diego Costa and drew the plaudits from Jose Mourinho after the Sky Blues pushed the EPL champions all the way but lost 1-0 to Chelsea on Tuesday night in Sydney.
Antonis says he’s on a massive high after playing against favourite club Chelsea in a game where the youngster caught the eye in midfield.
Antonis was singled out by ‘The Special One’ for his all-action performance in the 1-0 Chelsea win in front of a sellout crowd at ANZ Stadium on Tuesday night in front of over 83,000 fans.
It wasn’t just the Socceroo international’s passing and creative play which impressed Mourinho but also his aggressive tackling on Chelsea megastar Eden Hazard.
Told about Mourinho’s comments, Antonis said: “It’s amazing, especially being a Chelsea supporter. For me it’s a massive high.
“I’ve been a Chelsea supporter since I was young and being able to play against them and see them face-to-face and be on the same pitch as them is something incredible.”
“When you’re playing against these clubs and playing the champions of England, you have to be ready for a test. It was unbelievable.”
Antonis said learned a lot from the experience of taking on the English champions, especially his favourite player Hazard.
“He’s just so quick. He an amazing player,” Antonis said of the EPL’s Player of the Year.
“I think he’s one of the best in the world.
“On the ball he’s unbelievable. No matter how many players around him he still gets past you.”
Unfortunately for Antonis he missed out on swapping shirts with Hazard.
“I got [Diego] Costa’s though. I’m stoked over that,” he said with a smile.
Mourinho wasn’t the only coach that Antonis impressed, with Sky Blues boss Graham Arnold also excited by what he saw.
Arnold said the 21-year-old was a vital component of the Sydney FC side and is happy he has overcome his knee injury which curtailed the last few months of his Hyundai A-League season.
“It was a blow for us in the second half of the season that Terry got injured on Socceroo duty,” Arnold said.
“He came back injured and we couldn’t use him for basically the second half of the season. Terry is just getting back to fitness.
“He needs a good full year of football here in Australia. The last two or three years at Sydney he’s had injuries which have interrupted his career and he needs a good full season.
“Jose was right…Terry was very good.”