Chelsea v Stoke City - Saturday, 3pm
ROBERTO Di Matteo insists he has no qualms about going into tomorrow's clash with Stoke City with only one recognised striker – Daniel Sturridge having to sit out the Premier League clash.
Sturridge (pictured) withdrew from the squad for the Champions League tie against the Italian champions after picking up a slight hamstring injury in training, leaving Fernando Torres as the only available number nine.
At least Oscar should be available, having shrugged off a painful blow to the ankle administered by Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci on Wednesday night.
“He is better, but not quite ready for tomorrow's game,” said the Chelsea boss of Sturridge. “We'll have to see how quickly he can recover. It shouldn't be much longer if it's not in time for the Capital One Cup [against Wolves] on Tuesday.
“I try not to worry about something happening [to Fernando Torres]. Injuries can happen to any players in a game. I have ideas if anything happens, but I go into a game not thinking about injuries.
“I think we've got different kinds of players that score goals as well. Last season, Juan Mata scored goals for us, Eden Hazard is scoring goals, Oscar is scoring goals and Frank Lampard scores goals. So we have goals in the team. We don't want to put pressure on one player. We want to spread goals around our team and that's what's happening. That's what happened last season as well.”
Di Matteo says he has no worries about pitching Oscar into the helter-skelter of of a demanding physical game like the one he expects against Stoke.
“It's going to be a different kind of game and a different kind of challenge,” said the Italian.
“Certainly it's going to be a more physical game, because the Premier League in general is more like that, but I'm pretty sure he's ready for that. He's an intelligent man and player and he will find ways to get around it.
“It was certainly a spectacular debut for him against Juventus and we hope to see more of him.
“We saw a little bit of that it training, but it was obviously great to see that kind of quality in a big game like that against brilliant opposition as well, so we are very pleased that we have him.”
Chelsea can expect a tricky afternoon, according to the Blues boss, who does not envisage a repeat of the 7-0 savaging dished out to Stoke at the Bridge a couple of seasons ago.
“It's always difficult to play against Stoke,” he said, overlooking that particular fixture. “We always find it difficult to break them down. It's not just the physical approach they have, it's also the defensive organisation they have, so it's never easy – especially when they come to Stamford Bridge.
"They get everybody behind the ball and there's not much space, so you have to find the areas where you can penetrate them.
“They also have Michael Owen now, who's a natural goalscorer and a very good signing for Stoke. “It's a little bit surprising because he's not a tall player like all the others, but he's a dangerous player and I'm sure they'll benefit from his qualities.”