Chelsea could axe Torres for Juventus clash

KEN FERRIS
Last updated 17:14 20/11/2012
Fernando Torres
Getty Images
NO CERTAINTY: Chelsea's Fernando Torres (pictured) faces a challenge from Daniel Sturridge to retain his place in the starting lineup for the Champions League clash with Juventus.

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Chelsea could drop Fernando Torres for their Champions League clash against Juventus on Wednesday (NZT) but manager Roberto Di Matteo said the holders would not be playing for a draw in Turin.

"I always said we have two strikers, Fernando and Daniel Sturridge," the Italian told reporters. "They are both fit and I will have to see how we are going to go."

Spain forward Torres has scored only once in the last seven matches and whether he plays is one of the "important decisions" Di Matteo said he had to make on team selection.

"We will not play for a draw. The attitude has to be to go out and try to win the game. My intention is to create as many problems as possible for Juventus," he added.

Defeat could put Chelsea in danger of becoming the first Champions League holders to fail to get past the group stage, while a win would put them through to the last 16.

"It's almost a knockout game a few months early and nobody wants us to be the first holders to be knocked out at the group stage," added Di Matteo ahead of the crucial Group E clash.

Chelsea have only taken two points from their last four Premier League games and Di Matteo is under pressure for the first time since taking over as coach last March.

After the 2-1 defeat at West Bromwich Albion on Saturday, the dressing room was reportedly rocked by a row but Di Matteo said he was happy with the reaction of his players.

"It's important that we communicate with each other, and the players express themselves. I've always encouraged that," he said.

"They need to have belief in themselves, and that's the most important aspect."

RAISED VOICES

"That is not the first time there have been raised voices. We demand a lot from ourselves. Sometimes it is good. We all want to see a reaction.

"There was frustration on Saturday because of the result and this is normal when results don't go your way.

"We owe ourselves a performance and anything can happen (against Juventus), we've proved in the past that when it counts our players can be relied upon.

"We work together and, at the moment, we're all in it together and believe we have a good group, a good team, and are pulling together," said the Italian.

Di Matteo retains the backing of his players, according to England defender Gary Cahill.

"From last year, when he took the job, he did tremendously well and achieved such a lot in a short space of time," Cahill told reporters.

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"We started the campaign really well. We're all behind him and he's definitely the right man. He proved it last year and I'm sure he will prove it this year as well."

With captain John Terry injured, Di Matteo must decide whether to play David Luiz or Branislav Ivanovic alongside Cahill in central defence, while Ashley Cole is available at left back after recovering from a hamstring injury.

- Reuters

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