• Champions League

Di Matteo delays Drogba decision

ESPN staff
April 23, 2012

Chelsea interim manager Roberto Di Matteo will wait until Tuesday morning before deciding whether or not striker Didier Drogba will start against Barcelona in the Champions League.

The Blues go into the second leg of the semi-final contest against the defending champions with a 1-0 lead, thanks to a goal from Drogba in the first leg at Stamford Bridge last week.

However, the Ivorian missed the weekend's Premier League draw with Arsenal due to an injury picked up in that contest, with Di Matteo unsure if he would recover from the injury in time for Tuesday's second leg.

Drogba played a full part in training at Camp Nou on Monday evening, but his Italian manager revealed he will not make a decision about his participation in the game until the morning of the match at the earliest.

"I will evaluate the form and physical fitness of all my players, and then I will make the team selection based on that probably tomorrow morning," Di Matteo said. "So I cannot tell you [if Drogba will play] until tomorrow night."

Barcelona have their own worries about the fitness of a key player, with reports circulating about an injury problem for talisman Lionel Messi on Monday. However, the forward also played a full part in his side's training session ahead of the game and looks set to play a full part on Tuesday.

The Champions League has been an elusive dream for Chelsea for a number of years, but goalkeeper Petr Cech is hopeful this might just be the year everything changes for the club.

"I've been hoping for the last eight years that it would be the year I'd have a chance to win the Champions League,'' Cech said. "Here we are again, in the semi-final.

"We always try to reach the final and go as far as we can, to try and win the competition. Many times we were close and haven't managed to do so.

"If we have a fantastic game tomorrow, we'll have a chance to reach the final. But we need to play the 90 minutes tomorrow - then we might be able to think about a final.''

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