Chelsea’s Roberto Di Matteo: John Terry is ready to face Arsenal
Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo has no concerns over John Terry's state of mind following his ban and fine from the FA
Roberto Di Matteo insists he has no concerns over John Terry’s frame of mind ahead of Chelsea’s trip across London to Arsenal on Saturday.
Terry is set to make his first appearance since being found guilty of using racially abusive language towards Queens Park Rangers’ Anton Ferdinand following an FA hearing.
But the Chelsea boss was full of praise over the manner in which Terry, who retired from England duty before the hearing, has dealt with the situation and says the Blues skipper is ready to lead the west Londoners out at The Emirates.
“Yes, of course I’ve spoken to him,” Di Matteo told a news conference on Friday. “I do [so] on a regular basis with my players and he’s available for the game tomorrow – but I’m not going to tell you my team.
“It’s taken a long time [the disciplinary process] and the only thing we can do is just wait and see what happens. I think everybody would have liked it to be a bit quicker.
“He’s going to be available [for Saturday’s match] and from our point of view there are no changes.
“He’s a professional player, he’s a senior player as well. He’s got all the experience in the world to be able to deal with a big game.
“He likes to focus on the football and that’s all I have to be concerned about.
“He’s a professional and that’s how he behaves when he’s here with us. His application is very good every day and he tries his hardest when he plays.”
Friday’s ruling came after Terry was cleared of racially abusing Ferdinand by Westminster Magistrates’ Court back in July.
Terry was given 14 days in which to lodge an appeal against his four-game ban and £220,000 fine – but Di Matteo is sure the centre-half can deliver on the pitch despite the situation.
“When I have conversation with my players they remain private,” said Di Matteo. “He trained today, hard as always. He’s an experienced player.
“He’s played many games before, difficult games under difficult circumstances so if selected it won’t be a problem
“He’s only missed a couple of days so he hasn’t missed that much training so I don’t think [his fitness] is a problem.”
Di Matteo said that Terry’s decision to quit England duty was not one he took lightly – but admitted the choice could benefit Chelsea in the long-term.
“I know that John loved playing for England, it was his childhood dream,” he added. “It was a very difficult decision to take.
“It certainly increases the chance to play maybe a little bit longer when you don’t play internationally.”