Champions League

Chelsea brush off fallout talk

2012-11-19 21:15
Roberto Di Matteo (AFP)

Turin - Roberto Di Matteo has brushed off concerns over the fallout from Chelsea's latest setback and says the Champions League holders are "confident" ahead of a crucial Group H clash away to Juventus here Tuesday.

Chelsea come into their penultimate Group H match second on the same points as leaders Shakhtar Donetsk, but with Juventus in third only a point further adrift the battle for a place in the last 16 remains wide open.

On paper the edge lies with Juventus, who are at home and brimming with confidence as they sit on a four-point lead over Inter Milan in Serie A.

Chelsea lost 2-1 to West Bromwich Albion on Saturday, a defeat which reportedly led to dressing room turmoil, and have leaked 17 goals in their last eight matches in all competitions.

But Di Matteo, who played for Lazio and Chelsea in his career, says Chelsea have the confidence and character to concentrate fully on grabbing a place in the last 16 knockout phase.

"I feel confident, we have a good team, we know the importance of the match and the players do as well," Di Matteo said Monday.

"There was frustration from the result of Saturday, that's normal.

"We know the importance of the game tomorrow so we know the kind of commitment that will be needed.

"We're confident we can have a good game and come up with the required result. We owe ourselves a good performance."

Di Matteo rested a number of key players for Saturday's defeat but while most, except injured captain John Terry, are available the Chelsea manager kept mum about his possible line-up.

Defender Gary Cahill, meanwhile, said whichever team lines up at the 40 000-capacity Juventus Stadium knows what will be required.

And he brushed off questions suggesting Saturday's defeat left the team in turmoil.

"All the lads are aware of what's ahead of them and what's expected of them," said Cahill.

He believes the fallout from Chelsea's recent setback may actually go in their favour.

"Losing games is not acceptable, so yes, it's a positive thing. Sometimes things need to be said. It's a good sign when the lads are getting upset about losing a game of football.

"I'd be worried if people were just going into the shower and getting on the bus."

Juventus were only beaten for the first time in over a year two weeks ago, and came away from Stamford Bridge with a 2-2 draw on the opening match of the campaign.

But despite big expectations of a win for the hosts in Italy, Di Matteo believes they have the measure of the two-time champions who are making their return to the competition this season.

"At the moment we're thinking positive. We played a very good game at home against Juve," added Di Matteo.

"It will be a difficult game but they're under pressure as well, so it will make it an interesting game."

Cahill suggested Chelsea's players possess the character and quality to forget Saturday's defeat and focus on the job at hand.

"When you lose games it knocks your character, but we've got a quality squad and it's not something that we're gonna dwell on too long.

"We've got an important game tomorrow night."


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