Chelsea not distracted by off-field issues, insists Roberto Di Matteo
Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo insists his side are fully focused ahead of their trip to Tottenham on Saturday lunchtime
Roberto Di Matteo dismissed the notion that his Chelsea side could be distracted recent off-field issues as they gear up for Saturday’s trip to Tottenham.
In a week rife with controversy, John Terry has been in the media spotlight once again after he opted not to appeal against the four-game ban imposed on him by the Football Association for racially abusing QPR defender Anton Ferdinand during a Premier League game last season.
Chelsea on Friday refused to confirm whether Terry will remain as the club’s captain in the wake of his decision.
Terry’s announcement came on the same day that Blues defender Ashley Cole was handed a £90,000 fine for tweeting an expletive in a post aimed at UK football’s governing body.
But Blues boss Di Matteo is convinced his side remain unaffected by the recent controversy and are in the right frame of mind ahead of a testing visit to White Hart Lane.
“The results tell us that we’ve been able to focus on the football and not so much on the events outside of football,” said Di Matteo.
“I think the team has in general been supportive and hopefully tomorrow we’ll be focused again against Spurs.
“We are focused on playing against Tottenham, a team that is in very good form with four consecutive wins. We haven’t won in the league there since 2005 which is a very long time.”
Di Matteo has no fresh injury concerns ahead of Saturday’s game, with Frank Lampard and Ryan Bertrand both returning to full training on Thursday after missing England’s World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Poland.
“Fortunately everyone came back without injuries,” continued Di Matteo. “Ryan and Frank joined the group yesterday [Thursday] for the first time so they have had two full training sessions with us and will be available for tomorrow.”
Di Matteo, who worked under Andre Villas-Boas during the Portuguese coach’s doomed spell at Stamford Bridge last season, insists he still enjoys a good relationship with Spurs manager.
“We’ve obviously worked together and tomorrow we will be opponents for the first time,” he said. “During the game there’s not going to be any good feelings between us but certainly after the game [there will be].
“We are in touch from time to time and our relationship is good.”