x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Roberto Di Matteo is comfortable in the Chelsea spotlight

The interim manager, ahead of his first home game in charge, is confident the players are on his side and insists pressure of the job is to be expected.

Chelsea's interim manager, Roberto Di Matteo, expects John Terry, right, to be fit for tomorrow's visit of Stoke City. Scott Heavey / Getty Images
Chelsea's interim manager, Roberto Di Matteo, expects John Terry, right, to be fit for tomorrow's visit of Stoke City. Scott Heavey / Getty Images

Roberto Di Matteo says he can cope with the pressure of managing Chelsea under the gaze of owner Roman Abramovich.

Di Matteo, who took over as interim head coach when Andre Villas-Boas was sacked on Sunday, is the eighth manager at Stamford Bridge since Abramovich took over in 2004.

But as he looked forward to today's match against Stoke City when captain John Terry is likely to return to the starting line-up following knee surgery, Di Matteo said: "How am I going to cope? I will still get up in the morning. Have a coffee. Still have my lunch, my dinner, and get on with my life as normal.

"At any club, there's pressure to achieve certain targets. It's always there. Even if you're working at another club. If you can't handle it, don't want it, you shouldn't be in this job. We are in a results driven business. It's very simple. At any club where you work, you'll have targets and the pressure is there. Everywhere. That's the common aspect for any manager, in League One, League Two, Championship or Premier League."

Chelsea beat Birmingham City to progress to the FA Cup quarter-finals in midweek and Di Matteo revealed he had held talks with the big characters in Chelsea's dressing room, some of whom had a strained relationship with Villas-Boas.

Di Matteo said: "I feel I have everyone on-side. I have spoken individually to all of them now over the five days. It's a team effort and we needed to get everybody pulling in the right direction.

"They all know what the task is for the last two months of the season. They're all on board. "

Di Matteo insisted he would stick by Fernando Torres, the striker who has not scored for five months and 25 matches.

"He's a tremendous player, a fantastic guy, too," Di Matteo said. "He plays hard and tries hard; he had a great game on Tuesday and the only thing missing was a goal, but I don't really care about that. As long as the team win."

Visitors Stoke may be heading for their best points haul yet in the Premier League, but for the time being manager Tony Pulis remains as focused as ever on the magical number 40, which usually means survival.

Stoke, now in their fourth consecutive season in the top flight, are ninth in the table with 11 league fixtures left to play.

Currently on 36 points - 14 above the relegation zone - they are on course to beat their highest tally by hitting the 50-point mark.

But manager Tony Pulis said: "It is just about getting 40 points. As soon as that happens, we will look at it after that. Irrespective of what we do or don't do, the priority always is to stay [up]."

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