Roberto Di Matteo has vowed to do everything possible to get Chelsea defenders David Luiz and Gary Cahill fit for the Champions League final.
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The Blues’ hopes of beating Bayern Munich next Saturday arguably suffered a blow on Friday afternoon when caretaker-boss Di Matteo revealed Luiz and Cahill had not recovered sufficiently from hamstring injuries to play in Sunday’s final Barclays Premier League game of the season.
"Now we’re trying our hardest working towards next Saturday in the hope they’ll be in the group training next week," said Di Matteo, who will have no other recognized center-halves at the Allianz Arena, with John Terry and Branislav Ivanovic both suspended.
Luiz was seen doing some ball work at Chelsea’s training ground on Thursday and there had been an expectation that he would play some part against Blackburn on Sunday.
"We tried, but he wasn’t ready so now we’re trying for the last game," said Di Matteo, refusing to expand on the likelihood of that happening.
"It’s difficult to give it as a percentage.
"They’re at similar stages – not available for Sunday, and next week we’ll push them to be available for the group."
It would have been more than a month since Luiz last played were he to take to the field next Saturday, with Cahill having been out for almost as long.
Di Matteo said: "They’ve been out three or four weeks, not like three or four months. We have to push them as hard as we can."
The Italian refused to be drawn on how fit each would have to be for him to risk them, saying: "I have next week to make those assessments. It’ll be like that in the last couple of days, to see what level they reach."
The added complication for Cahill is that aggravating his injury would put his place in the England squad at risk ahead of the European Championships.
Di Matteo said: "We need to think about ourselves and what the club’s interests are.
"If he’s fine, he’ll be available. If he’s not, he won’t be. As simple as that."