• Premier League

Di Matteo expects no Rio problems

ESPN staff
October 26, 2012
Rio Ferdinand will come face-to-face with Ashley Cole this weekend © PA Photos

Roberto Di Matteo is confident there will be no hostility towards Rio Ferdinand when Chelsea host Manchester United for their Premier League clash on Sunday.

The Blues could see their advantage at the top of the Premier League slashed to a single point if United triumph at Stamford Bridge.

Skipper John Terry will be unavailable as he serves his four-match ban for racially abusing Anton Ferdinand last October, but Di Matteo expects Ashley Cole to shake hands with Rio Ferdinand, who last week sparked controversy when he refused to wear a Kick It Out T-Shirt.

Ferdinand was fined £45,000 in August for improper conduct after he responded to a comment on Twitter which described Cole as a "choc ice". Cole had appeared in court as a defence witness for Terry, who was cleared of racially abusing Rio's brother Anton - although he was later punished by the Football Association.

Despite the history between the former England team-mates, Di Matteo is confident no issues will arise and is certain the pair will shake hands before kick-off.

"I always said that from our point of view we will play our part," he said. "I don't foresee any problems in that sense. I think and hope that all the players will shake hands.

"Our fans have been very good generally, very supportive of our team and respectful. I cannot comment on how every individual supporter in the stadium will react to it but I am sure that they will support our team and push them to a win."

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