Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo has acknowledged that his team is under pressure ahead of their Champions League fixture away to Juventus this evening but is confident that the Blues will come good in the clutch like they usually do.
In one of Di Matteo’s early games as interim manager last season, Chelsea overturned a 3-1 first leg deficit against another Italian side, Napoli, to begin an aggressive journey towards eventual European glory.
They accomplished a similarly dramatic feat in their last Champions League outing when a last-minute Victor Moses goal helped them overcome Shakhtar Donetsk 3-2 on match-day four.
That result pushed them to the top of the table but only goal difference separates them from the Ukrainian outfit, with Juve only a point behind in the Group E standings.
Di Matteo knows that just like his men, the Italian champions are also in a must-win situation to maintain control of their own destiny but is confident that the West Londoners can handle the intensity at the Juventus Stadium tonight.
“We owe ourselves a good performance, then anything can happen. We have proved before that when it comes down to it, our players can be counted on,” Di Matteo stated in an interview at UEFA’s official website.
He added: “It’s important we communicate with each other and that the players express themselves, and I’ve always encouraged that.
“At the moment we are thinking positive and we played a very good game at home [2-2 draw] against Juve. It’s going to be a difficult one for sure – they are under pressure as well to win this game and it’s going to make it an interesting match. It will be an open game.
“Both sides can win it. Juve are at home and maybe that could be a bit of an advantage, but sometimes playing at home can be a hindrance too.”
When asked what his side’s strategy will be for the match, Di Matteo made it clear that balancing disciplined defending with an attacking mindset is the key.
“I think we’ve got to try and create problems for Juve. I’ve seen lots of their recent games, including the last one against Lazio, when they crushed their opponents in their own half. We have to cause them problems. Yes, we will defend, but not only that.”
The Blues have been in poor form in the Barclays Premier League lately, picking up only two points from their last three outings and as emphasized by defender David Luiz, it is critical for them to turn it around against Juventus.