Following Arsene Wenger’s criticism of Chelsea’s actions in publicly accusing Mark Clattenburg of racism yesterday, Alex Ferguson is the latest manager to lend support to the referee. The Manchester United manager said he didn’t believe Clattenburg would have made the comments:
"I don't believe he would make comments like that. I refuse to believe it. It's unthinkable.”
In his own pre-match press conference Di Matteo hit back at Ferguson, suggesting that his side will use the Manchester United manager’s words as motivation:
“He likes to talk about other clubs. We tend not to. We'll take into consideration what other people say and use it as a motivational tool for ourselves”
Di Matteo also revelead that both Juan Mata and David Luiz are serious injury doubts for the match with Swansea. Both Mata and Luiz played the full 120 minutes against Manchester United in midweek, and the Spaniard has picked up a hamstring strain, whilst Luiz has an ankle issue. Ashley Cole, Fernando Torres and Branislav Ivanovic should all be back, with the latter pair having served their suspensions in the League Cup clash.
John Terry is still banned so Chelsea back four will likely consist of Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Cahill and Cole. The Chelsea manager has admitted they are missing their captain at the back, with his side conceding nine goals in the first three matches of Terry’s ban.
Swansea also have injury concerns at the back, with Chico Flores facing a late fitness test to see if he will be able to play. Ashley Williams should be fit, but Michel Vorm remains injured.
Swansea manager Michael Laudrup has also said today that Swansea’s subsequent trip to play Southampton is more important than the visit of Chelsea. The manager said that he worries that his players may raise their game for big opponents like Chelsea, but lower their standards when playing the smaller sides.
Despite this assertion, Laudrup has said he will not drop Michu to avoid him risking a fifth booking of the season. The Spaniard has been in fantastic form, scoring six league goals in nine matches, but will be suspended when he next picks up a yellow card.
West Ham are reportedly interested in taking Chelsea’s Belgian keeper Thibaut Courtois on loan if he returns to England. The 20 year old keeper is currently enjoying his second season on loan at Athletico Madrid, having won the Europa League with them last year.
Chelsea target Paulinho is staying at Corinthians at least until July, according to their president Mario Gobbi Filho. There had been rumours that the player’s new contract was put in place to raise the transfer fee but Filho has dismissed the idea.
The agent of Nordsjaelland defender Jores Okore has said the player is waiting for an offer from Chelsea or Manchester United. The 20 year old has earned plaudits for his displayes in the Champions League this year.
Finally, Didier Drogba has said he has enjoyed watching Chelsea’s attacking style this year, with the Ivorian singling out Eden Hazard as a player he particularly likes.
image: © Ben Sutherland