Business as usual for Di Matteo

BY foxsports • September 22, 2012

Roberto Di Matteo on Friday shrugged off the implications of Roman Abramovich's latest visit to Chelsea's training ground.

Blues boss Di Matteo confirmed Abramovich was at the club's Cobham headquarters on Thursday amid reports he had questioned players and coaching staff following Wednesday night's 2-2 Champions League draw with Juventus.

Di Matteo admitted "it wasn't a particularly happy camp yesterday here" after what was the European champions' third successive game without a win and third this season in which their deficiencies have been ruthlessly exposed by big-name opponents.

Visits from an unhappy Abramovich have proven a bad omen for Chelsea managers since the Russian bought the club and Di Matteo could be forgiven for being alarmed at receiving one just seven matches into his reign as full-time manager.

But he insisted his only concern was Saturday's Premier League game against Stoke and that dealing with Abramovich was par for the course.

"He actually comes quite often, to be honest," Di Matteo said. "He likes to be involved and he comes down whenever he can.

"He's the owner and he likes to know what's going on and he likes to speak to people - and he does that all the time.

"Obviously, we weren't happy about the result we got on Wednesday night, for sure, so it wasn't a particularly happy camp yesterday here.

"But we'll have try to pick ourselves up and go again and try to win points in the Premier League now.

"I have to focus on my job and try to prepare the players and the team to the best for tomorrow's game."

Abramovich's visit came days after he was described as both "courteous" and "ruthless" by the judge in his successful legal battle with Boris Berezovsky.

Di Matteo would not be drawn on that assessment of a man who has sacked almost every manager who has failed to produce the combination of attractive and successful football he so famously demands.

But the Italian added: "At a big club, you always have a pressure and you have to try to win games and try to win games in the right manner as well.

"That's part of being part of a big club."

After being allowed to rescue Chelsea's season in any way he saw fit last term, Di Matteo is now starting to encounter some of the problems that ultimately cost his predecessors.

One of those is a misfiring Fernando Torres, whose mini-revival is in danger of petering out at just the wrong time.

Daniel Sturridge has now been sidelined by a hamstring injury, leaving Di Matteo to sweat on the form and - more importantly - fitness of his only recognised centre-forward.

"I try not to worry about that," he said. "Injuries can happen to any players in the games, so I have ideas if anything happens.

"But we go into the game not thinking about injuries."

Di Matteo denied Chelsea had erred in ending the transfer window with only two recognised strikers.

"I think we signed a different kind of players that can score goals as well," he said.

"And, as you can see, last season Mata scored many goals for us and Eden Hazard scoring goals, Oscar scoring goals, Lampard scores goals from midfield.

"So, we have goals in the team."

They certainly do if Oscar is able to build on his sensational debut against Juve, which only saw him fail to be the matchwinner due to his team-mate's deficiencies.

Di Matteo expects the ?25million man to shake off the ankle knock he suffered after being trod on by Juve defender Leonardo Bonucci, an incident UEFA confirmed this afternoon they would not be taking action over.

Oscar may need to brace himself for even more bumps and bruises tomorrow to help ensure Chelsea stay top of the league by beating Stoke.

Di Matteo said: "Certainly it's going to be a more physical game, because the Premier League in general is a bit more like that.

"But I'm pretty sure he's ready for that. He's an intelligent man and player and he will find ways to get around it."

Meanwhile, Di Matteo refused to be drawn on how much time off John Terry would be given during his Football Association hearing into allegations he directed a racist slur at QPR defender Anton Ferdinand.

It is understood Terry's personal hearing is set to begin on Monday. He denies the charge.


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