Di Matteo warned that tomorrow’s opponents Stoke will provide ‘a difficult game’ and admitted he will have to consider his team’s fitness with only a two-day gap between games in comparison to a week’s rest for Stoke. And Di Matteo did not concur with suggestions that Chelsea lack striking options with only Fernando Torres and Daniel Sturridge as recognised centre forwards. In any case, Di Matteo remarked that the goals would come from various players such as Mata, Hazard and Lampard.
Daniel Sturridge and Marko Marin will be unavailable for tomorrow’s game through injuries. Sturridge picked up a hamstring injury a day before the Champions League game against Juventus and Marin is yet to make a competitive appearance following his summer move. Oscar, who picked up an ankle injury in the game against Juventus, has recovered in time to be available for selection for the game against Stoke.
Di Matteo confirmed press reports claiming that owner Roman Abramovich visited Chelsea’s training ground yesterday but insisted the owner frequently visits the training ground to speak to staff and players. And whilst Di Matteo admits that there is pressure on him to win in a stylised manner, he asserts that such expectations are customary at the biggest clubs.
John Obi Mikel has deleted his Twitter profile reportedly owing to racist abuse on the networking site but Di Matteo denies the claims and stated that Mikel had intended to delete his profile regardless of the abuse. Chelsea have however informed the police of the abuse Mikel received on Twitter following his admission that his misplaced pass had led to Juventus’ equaliser.
Branislav Ivanovic has urged his teammates to be more diligent in their defensive work. Carelessness and lapses of concentration led to Juventus’ goals in the 2-2 midweek draw and Ivanovic is confident that Chelsea’s preparation for games will soon be accompanied with a defensive steel that helped the team to its triumphs last season: ‘It’s more of a mental situation because our training is hard enough to prepare for a good game. Physically, we are ready but, mentally, we have to do more and be stronger.’
David Luiz has revealed his role in helping compatriot Oscar adjust to his new surroundings in London. Luiz told chelseafc.com that he takes Oscar to his house everyday because Oscar has no family living in London and Luiz hopes his efforts to help Oscar settle in London will be of benefit to the team.
Kevin De Bruyne, currently on loan at Werder Bremen, says he will not stay with the German side beyond the end of this season when his loan deal expires. The Belgian will return to Chelsea after this season but he remains unsure whether he will be part of the club or be sent on loan to another English club.
image: © Ben Sutherland