Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo: Focus on the football not side issues
Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo calls on his players to ignore the furore surrounding the John Terry-Anton Ferdinand saga
Roberto Di Matteo has warned his Chelsea players not to get distracted by the furore surrounding the John Terry-Anton Ferdinand saga when his side take on Queens Park Rangers on Saturday.
The Blues travel to Loftus Road almost a year after the Premier League clash that sparked months of controversy after Terry was accused of racially abusing Ferdinand during the game.
The Chelsea defender was cleared of the charge earlier this summer – and Di Matteo is hoping a line can now be drawn under the controversy ahead of Saturday’s London derby.
“[We want to] make people focus more on the football side rather than other issues,” Di Matteo told a news conference on Friday.
“I know Mark Hughes very well, we’re in touch every now and then and hopefully everyone will focus on football tomorrow and move on.
“Every time we go to Loftus Road it’s always a feisty day. It’s a small ground with very passionate supporters from both sides. It’s going to be a heated atmosphere.
“We would like both sets of supporters but especially ours to support their team. Football is here to unite people rather than divide people.”
Di Matteo’s side return to Premier League action after winning all three of their opening fixtures and the Chelsea boss is hoping his side can deliver the consistency needed to mount a serious title challenge.
He continued: “Our start has been positive; some of the football we’ve played has been very good. We’re looking for consistency in the league and to have a good game at QPR.”
The Italian also confirmed that Marko Marin is the only player ruled out of Saturday’s clash, although Juan Mata may not feature after being handed a much-needed rest during the international break.
“Fortunately we don’t have any injuries to report, which is great,” he said. “Everybody who is fit will be available. The only player missing will be Marin who is going to have some minutes in the reserve team tonight.
“Juan Mata is back in training now. He’s had a break and I will still have to see if it’s too early.”