Didier Drogba Image 2
Arsenal v Chelsea, Saturday 12.45pm
ROBERTO Di Matteo says it is still too early to say whether a knee injury picked up by Didier Drogba against Barcelona is bad enough to keep him out of Tuesday's return leg in the Camp Nou.
The Ivorian (pictured) is likely be one of several players who started Wednesday night's first leg at the Bridge, who will be missing in tomorrow's Premier League clash with Arsenal as the Blues coach looks to keep his squad fresh.
The Blues will also be without Branislav Ivanovic, who resumes his domestic suspension, and David Luiz, who has a hamstring injury picked up at Wembley against Spurs.
“Didier has got a knee injury from the game in midweek and we'll have to assess him tomorrow and Sunday to see how he recovers,” Di Matteo said.
“I think he got a lot of physical battering and was pushed and kicked around a lot in the game on Wednesday. It's difficult to give a percentage [of his chances].
“We want everybody to be available and hopefully he will be, but right now we don't know.”
John Terry's rib injury has eased and he may well play again, given the absense of Luiz and Ivanovic, but Di Matteo said ' a few changes' were inevitable.
“Psychologically, it feels much better digesting this amount of games when you are winning, so mentally I think we are in a very good state,” said the Italian.
“But that doesn't take away the fact that we are going to play our third game in less than six days.
“I've been using the [whole] squad and I will continue to do so, because it's the only answer really to be able to compete in every game.
“Recovery is probably one of the most important aspects right now – but I think the results help you to keep going and believe that you can achieve the targets that you set yourself.”
In spite of the cup distractions, Di Matteo says the fourth Champions League spot remains a big ambition, and will not allow his team to ease up at the Emirates.
“For us, it's important to be in the Champions League, but it's proved to be a difficult season for this club in the Premier League and we are trying our best to make up the points on the teams in front of us,” Di Matteo said.
“We have made some points up, but there isn't much time and we just have to try our best and get as many points as we can.
“Unfortunately, we have to play catch up – that's been from day one since I took charge. It's going to be a difficult one.But I think the drive and motivation of the players has been good. They want to achieve something this season and finish it as well as possible.”