• Chelsea v Shakhtar Donetsk, Champions League

Di Matteo wants Chelsea to stay sharp

ESPN staff
November 7, 2012
Shakhtar Donetsk were celebrating a fortnight ago. Will there be a repeat at the Bridge? © Getty Images

Roberto Di Matteo has called for Chelsea to retain focus in their Champions League clash with Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday.

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Chelsea have made a low-key start to the defence of their Champions League crown and a defeat to Shakhtar a fortnight ago has put them on the back foot.

They will attempt to set things right when the side from Ukraine visit Stamford Bridge, but Chelsea will go into battle without the injured Ashley Cole. A boost for the Blues is the return of John Terry and Di Matteo wants his players to be at their sharpest.

"Our defensive organisation has been good," Di Matteo said. "We've had defensive mistakes but when we're fully focused we're a very good team."

Di Matteo feels Chelsea's success in recent years has been down to their big-game mentality and he expects that to come to the fore against Shakhtar.

When asked about his side's strengths, Di Matteo said: "One is the strong mentality this team has, and the experience they have of performing in big games like this, not to feel the pressure too much, and also good players.

"We have good players in our ranks and when they manage to perform at their best we are a very strong team.

"We've had must-win games and tomorrow is another one like that. We need to play a perfect game tomorrow against Shakhtar, but we are strong at home. We found that over many years and we will be fired up to win it."

Chelsea player to watch: With Ashley Cole out due to injury, Di Matteo will turn to Ryan Bertrand to fill in at left back and it will be a big day for the youngster. His manager has no doubt he can flourish at the top level and he will get the chance to show he can be the long-term successor to Cole with a fine display on home soil.

Shakhtar Donetsk player to watch: Fernandinho was on target in Shakhtar's win over Chelsea a fortnight ago and with the Brazilian clearly eager to showcase his talents ahead of a potential move, he has a shop window at Stamford Bridge.

Betting: With John Terry back to shore up the Chelsea back line, take the Blues to get their title defence back on track with a win to nil - 5/2 with bet365.

Precition: 2-0

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