x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Roberto di Matteo wants unhappy Chelsea camp to pick themselves up

Manager says visit by Roman Abramovich after Champions League draw with Juventus overblown.

Roberto di Matteo has challenges up front with the Chelsea forwards either injured or deflated. Nick Potts / PA Wire
Roberto di Matteo has challenges up front with the Chelsea forwards either injured or deflated. Nick Potts / PA Wire

Roberto di Matteo shrugged off the implications of Roman Abramovich's latest visit to Chelsea's training ground, insisting he was more than happy to see the Russian there.

The Chelsea manager confirmed Abramovich was at the club's Cobham headquarters on Thursday amid reports he had questioned players and coaching staff following Wednesday'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 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.

He said his only concern was tomorrow's Premier League game at Stoke City and that dealing with Abramovich was part of the job. "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 to 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 the game."

Di Matteo would not be drawn in describing the man who has fired 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. Daniel Sturridge has now been sidelined by a hamstring injury, leaving Di Matteo to sweat on the form and, more importantly, the fitness of Torres, 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 who can score goals as well," he said.

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